US, foreign leaders attend Bush funeral service

Reuters
The state funeral of President George Herbert Walker Bush was held. The 41st US president died on Friday in Texas at 94.
Reuters
Reuters

The flag-draped casket of former US President George H.W. Bush is carried by military pallbearers past his son former President George W. Bush (left), US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and former presidents and first ladies Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter as it arrives at his state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC yesterday. 

The funeral of President George H.W. Bush was held yesterday, with US and foreign dignitaries commemorating the life of a World War II hero, Cold War veteran and former head of the CIA who went on to represent an era of civility in American politics.

An unusual bipartisan spirit was on display at the service at the Washington National Cathedral with both Republican and Democratic politicians gathering to honor a president who called for a “kinder, gentler” nation.

Bush, the 41st US president, died on Friday in Texas at 94.

“George H.W. Bush was America’s last great soldier-statesman,” Jon Meacham, a presidential biographer, said in a eulogy. “He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism. He stood in the breach in Washington against unthinking partisanship.”

Political feuds were briefly set aside in honor of the late president, a naval aviator who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean in World War II, and a commander in chief who defeated Iraqi forces in the 1991 Gulf War.

US President Donald Trump shook hands with his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, who he has often sharply criticized, as he took his seat at the cathedral.

Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 election opponent, and her husband Bill Clinton shared the front pew with Obama, Trump and their spouses.

Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, has been remembered as a patrician figure who represented a bygone era of civility in American politics.

He was voted out of office in part for failing to connect with ordinary Americans during an economic recession.

“Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!” Trump tweeted.

All surviving former US presidents were at the cathedral along with their wives.

The guest list included Britain’s Prince Charles and leaders of Germany, Jordan, Australia and Poland, along with a host of former world leaders, such as former British Prime Minister John Major, who was in office during Bush’s term.

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