Amazing Grace: George H. W. Bush remembered at state funeral in Houston

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to share his name,” Commissioner Bush said in eulogy; Jim Baker told the crowd about his conversations with 41: “Our glory, George, is to have had you as such a president and such a friend.”

In a state funeral that included the Oak Ridge Boys performing “Amazing Grace,” dignitaries from around Texas and the nation gathered at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston Thursday morning to pay tribute to the forty first President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush.

With Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and many others in attendance Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush eulogized his grandfather and said, “We all grew up in awe of my grandfather, a larger than life figure.”

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to share his name,” Commissioner Bush said. He said the patriarch of the Bush family often wrote to his grandkids saying things like “the only thing wrong with the last five months is that all of you were not here enough.”

“In death – as in life – my grandfather has won,” Commissioner Bush said, adding he is “at peace” now with God in Heaven.

Bush’s longtime pastor, Rev. Russell Levenson said the former chief executive officer of the United States was “never afraid to shed tears” and he urged mourners to “follow his example.”

“We have lost more than a leader,” Dr. Levenson said, explaining that Bush had the ability to make you feel he was your best friend and you were his. “However you do it today…give thanks that his life brushed up against yours,” Rev. Levenson said.

When Bush passed away, Levenson said he imagined former First Lady Barbara Bush and their daughter Robin were both waiting when he arrived in heaven. “My guess is that Barbara was standing there with her hands on her hips saying, ‘what took you so long?’” Levenson said as the crowd laughed at the good-natured joke.  

Levenson said Mrs. Bush and Robin would then follow up with “We adore you.”

Calling Mr. Bush “a truly beautiful human being,” former Secretary of State James Baker told the crowd he was going to do something in his speech that Mr. Bush would certainly not approve of: Brag about his friend.

“His incredible service to our nation and the world are already etched in the marble of time,” Baker said, then ticked off many of Bush’s accomplishments. “He became one of our nation’s finest presidents and, beyond any doubt, our nation’s very best one-term president.”

“George Bush never wavered,” Baker said of his time in office, pointing in particular to his leadership of the world’s response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait leading to the first Gulf War in 1991.

“I’ve always been proud that George Bush used to describe our relationship as big brother and little brother,” Baker said, recalling their intense debates of issues during their time in the White House. “He had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over,” Baker said. “He would look at me and say, ‘Baker if you’re so smart why am I president and you’re not?’”

Later in Mr. Bush’s life, conversations between the former Harris County Republican Party Chairman and the man known as “the consigliere” were more heartfelt.  

“My glory is I have you as such a friend,” Baker quoted Bush as once telling him. Baker choked up as he remembered his response to Mr. Bush: “Our glory, George, is to have had you as such a president and such a friend.”  

Copyright December 06, 2018, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved. Reprinted with permission. 

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