Nation bids goodbye to Bush with high praise, cannons, humor

Delivering a eulogy at the elder Bush's funeral on Wednesday, George W. Bush said his father's "last words on earth were 'I love you, too'".

An emotional Brian Mulroney says he's convinced George H.W. Bush will go down as the most courageous, principled and honourable occupant of the Oval Office the United States has ever known.

Country music's Oak Ridge Boys, among the president's favorites, sang "Amazing Grace" and Reba McEntire offered "The Lord's Prayer" as three days of official ceremonies in Washington gave way to more personal touches for the Bush in Texas.

Bush will be buried during a private service later Thursday at his family plot on the Bush presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. Trump did not shake hands with Bill and Hillary Clinton, who looked straight ahead. Mrs Obama and husband Barack both smiled to each other as Bush moved on to greet the Clintons and Carters further down the row.

Since Bush's death, Trump has traded his usual provocative posture for one of respect and solemnity, tweeting before heading to the cathedral about "a day of celebration for a great man".

The Twitter post came as dignitaries began to arrive at Washington's National Cathedral for former president Mr Bush's funeral on Wednesday afternoon. Then-Vice President Bush was a big fan of the group, and through the years they became friends.

President Trump announces that he is nominating William Barr attorney general under President George H.W. Bush as his new attorney general
President Trump announces that he is nominating William Barr attorney general under President George H.W. Bush as his new attorney general

Trump's ascendancy to the head of the Republican Party saw him exchange vitriolic attacks with the Bushes, including mocking Bush senior's "thousand points of light" phrase and slamming the presidential son's 2003 invasion of Iraq as "one of the worst decisions in the history of our country".

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When he sat down, he reached over and shook the hands of the Obamas.

He was president from 1989-1993 and was known for overseeing a post-Cold War transition as well as the Gulf War. Former Sen. Bob Dole, a compatriot in war, peace and political struggle, steadied himself out of his wheelchair and saluted his old friend and one-time rival. "I can't fake the funk, as they say", Lemon said. The lead aircraft has been painted with Bush's name under the pilot's seat and his late wife Barbara's name under the backseater's canopy.

Trump's relationship with the Bush family has been tense.

  • Kyle Peterson