Ex-US President George HW Bush’s casket arrives in Texas

Texas [USA]: The casket of late former United States President George HW Bush arrived at his presidential library here on Thursday, where he would be laid to rest next to his wife and former First Lady Barbara Bush and their daughter Robin Bush.

As a special train arrived at the College Station in Texas, the Bush family stood with their hands over their hearts as the casket, draped in a US flag, was carried past them. The country’s national anthem was played out, while 21 fighter jets performed a missing man formation in honour of the 41st US President, CNN reported.

Prior to the burial ceremony, close friends and family on Thursday expressed their final, yet tearful, condolences to the deceased president at a funeral service in Houston.

James Baker, Bush’s Secretary of State, delivered an emotional eulogy, underlining the close bond that he and the 94-year-old leader shared during the latter’s four-year-old presidency (1989 to 1993).

Comparing his relationship with Bush as a “brother”, Baker was quoted by The Hill saying: “He had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over. He would look at me and say, ‘Baker if you’re so smart, why am I president and you’re not?'”

“For millions and millions across the globe, the world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years,” he told a gathering.

Thursday’s funeral service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston was a more intimate and private affair than Wednesday’s funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, which saw thousands of people, including foreign leaders, former US Presidents, and first ladies and current US lawmakers attending the event.

Bush’s grandson, George P. Bush, who also delivered a eulogy at the memorial service here, described his grandfather as the “most gracious and humble man”. He recounted how he used to spend time with the 41st US President during his childhood, playing on an imaginary boat on the coast of Maine, watching his grandfather indulge in barbeque and relish Klondike Bar ice creams.

“George HW Bush is the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that I will ever know, and it’s the honour of a lifetime to share his name,” George P. Bush, who is the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, told the gathering.

As the memorial service concluded, Bush’s casket was carried out of the church and the train carried it to College Station.

The stalwart, who passed away on November 30, is known for his contributions towards the country, including steering the nation’s foreign policy in the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 while ushering in a new world order.

He had also ordered the invasion of Kuwait to drive out Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and formed a United Nations-backed 30-nation coalition for the task in 1990.