Reba McEntire Gives Moving Performance at George H.W. Bush’s Funeral

December 7, 2018 Updated: December 7, 2018

Longtime country singer Reba McEntire honored former President George H.W. Bush in Texas by singing “The Lord’s Prayer.”

About 1,200 people arrived at the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston to honor Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94. McEntire was a singer that the former president “came to love,” and she was joined by The Oak Ridge Boys and later performed “Amazing Grace.”

The singer’s performance was captured by a number of news outlets. CBS News reported that former President George W. Bush was apparently brought to tears during her rendition.

Reba McEntire sings "The Lord's Prayer" at a funeral service honoring former Pres. George H.W. Bush. abcn.ws/2RCHe1m #Remembering41

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“It was an honor and privilege to sing at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral this morning. He was a great friend and leader and I will never forget the time we shared together,” said McEntire afterward.

She posted several photos of herself and the 41st president.

“Everyone in the country music business was so honored when President and Mrs. Bush joined us at the CMA awards,” she captioned in one photo from the early 1990s.

The Oak Ridge Boys also issued a statement. “An emotional service celebrating the life of #GeorgeHWBush today. We were honored to sing Amazing Grace one more time for him,” the group wrote on Instagram. “And @Reba’s performance of The Lord’s Prayer was wonderful. RIP our dear friend. We will see you and Barbara in the Place He has prepared for us.”

Following the elder Bush’s death last Friday, she paid tribute to a “great friend.’

“Everyone in the country music business was so honored when President and Mrs. Bush joined us at the @cma awards. #greatpresident #greatfriend,” the singer wrote on Dec. 1.

“One of many great times we got to be with President Bush. Mrs. Bush is smiling up a storm this morning! What a great life he had,” McEntire also wrote in a group picture that included several former presidents and singers such as Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, and Carrie Underwood.

After the funeral, the elder Bush’s remains were taken to his final resting place Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas, where he’ll be buried next to his daughter, Robin, who died at the age of 3, and his wife, Barbara, who died earlier this year. His casket touched down in Houston on Dec. 5 following the memorial service, which featured every living former president as well as President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Family Speaks Out

Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, who is George W. Bush’s daughter, said she took comfort knowing that they have finally reunited.

“I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife,” the 37-year-old said, reported People magazine. “This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. ‘Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be afraid of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.’ And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’”

In response, he apparently said: “‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied ‘I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom.’”

Barbara Pierce Bush, another granddaughter, also theorized why her grandfather died when he did.

Barbara Bush says her late grandfather "never spent a Christmas without my grandmother."

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“He’d never spent a Christmas without my grandmother,” Barbara, 37, told People magazine, referring to grandmother Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year. “He was ready to be with her again. He never said it, but my thought is that he wanted to be with her for the holiday.”

Over the summer, when he was hospitalized, he decided to forgo any new medical procedures. “After my grandmother died, he made it clear that he wanted to go to Maine. He did not want to be in a hospital,” she said.

In Maine, when he went there in October, “there was never a moment when there wasn’t a family member with him,” she added. “He wanted to be in the game, still. He wanted to be included.”

Barbara said the large Bush family, which includes 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren as well as in-laws, coordinated their schedules to make sure the head of the family wasn’t alone in Maine.

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Former first lady Laura Bush and former President George W. Bush greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We each planned trips at different times, so he would always have visitors,” Barbara added. “But the majority of us didn’t make it.

“I believe deeply that they will be together,” Barbara said of the Bush family patriarch and matriarch. “And so that makes the loss so much better.”

The elder Bush was also eulogized by George W. Bush, who broke down near the end of his speech.

“Let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you,” Bush said, before breaking down in tears for a moment. “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 encouraged and comforted, but never steered. We tested his patience, I know I did. But he always responded with the great gift of unconditional love,” Bush also said.

“George H.W. Bush was America’s last great soldier-statesman,” Jon Meacham, who was the late Bush’s 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,” he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.