Former President George W. Bush eulogized his father, the late former President George H.W. Bush, and kept his composure until the final lines of his speech.
“Let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you,” Bush said before he broke down in tears. “A great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us know dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”
George W. Bush tearfully concludes his eulogy to his father: "Through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have…Dad is hugging Robin, and holding mom's hand again." https://t.co/B3hZufXKHW pic.twitter.com/fxqwjIcSvi
— ABC News (@ABC) December 5, 2018
Robin, his younger sister, died from leukemia at the age of 3. His mother, Barbara Bush, died earlier this year at age 92. His dad died at the age of 94 over the weekend.
Bush kept the speech light, joking about his father’s golf game, fishing, and hatred of broccoli. “His short game (in golf) was lousy. He wasn’t exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor,” Bush said. “The man couldn’t stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. And by the way, he passed these genetic defects along to us.”
“A great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us know dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”
He also thanked his father for teaching him how to be a president. “Of course, dad taught me another special lesson,” said Bush. “He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country.”
The funeral was attended by President Donald Trump and former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.
“He was no cynic,” Bush said of his father. “He looked for the good in every person, and he usually found it.”
“Dad was always busy, a man in constant motion, but never too busy to share his life with those around him,” Bush added.
He was “the last great-soldier statesman,” historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy, “our shield” in dangerous times. But he also said that Bush, campaigning in a crowd in a department store, once shook hands with a mannequin. Rather than flushing in embarrassment, he simply cracked, “Never know. Gotta ask,” according to The Associated Press.
The national funeral service capped three days of remembrance in Washington before Bush’s remains return to Texas on Wednesday for burial Thursday. He died Friday, Nov. 30, at age 94.
Bush will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953. On Wednesday morning, a military band played “Hail to the Chief” as Bush’s casket was carried down the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where he had lain in state. Family members looked on as servicemen fired off a cannon salute.
“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,” President Donald Trump tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.