Body of former President George H.W. Bush brought to Texas burial site

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The body of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was brought to the burial site at his presidential library in Texas on Thursday after a funeral at a Houston church where he was remembered by family members who knew him best as "Gampy."

Bush's casket traveled by train from Houston to College Station, Texas, and then carried to the gravesite behind his library by a military honor guard, in a ceremony overseen by his son and former President George W. Bush.

Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week in Texas at 94. His remains were flown to Texas on Wednesday following a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral attended by President Donald Trump, the four living former presidents and foreign leaders.

"The memorial was a beautiful tribute to President Bush's extraordinary life and a noble legacy to public service," Trump said at a Hanukkah reception at the White House on Thursday. "He was a wonderful man. We will always remember this great statesman and beloved American patriot. He really was very special."

Thursday's funeral service in Houston was held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, where Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush worshipped for more than five decades, and took on a more personal tone with remarks by family members.

George W. Bush, who followed his father to the White House after President Bill Clinton's two terms, sat in a front pew near the flag-draped casket and joined in as some 1,000 mourners sang "America the Beautiful."

George P. Bush, son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and one of the former president's 17 grandchildren, remembered fly fishing and sharing ice cream with the man he called "Gampy."

James Baker, a longtime friend who served as Bush's secretary of state, eulogized the former president as a peacemaker and "a truly beautiful human being."

"He was not considered a skilled speaker, but his deeds were quite eloquent and he demonstrated their eloquence by carving them into the hard granite of history," Baker said.

Mourners laughed as Baker recalled how Bush would let him know a conversation was over: "'Baker, if you're so smart, why am I president and you're not?'" His voice cracking at moments, Baker said he was at his friend's deathbed last week.

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George H.W. Bush through the years
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George H.W. Bush through the years
View of US Representative to the United Nations (and future US President) George HW Bush during a press conference, New York, New York, 1971. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
George H. W. Bush standing in front of a 'Yale Fence' in his baseball uniform at Yale University, circa 1945-48. (George Bush Presidential Library/MCT via Getty Images)
United States Ambassador to the United Nations (and future US President) George HW Bush golfs with his wife (and future First Lady), Barbara Bush (nee Pierce), Washington DC, October 1971. (Photo by Leonard McCombe/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Washington, DC. December 1989 President George H.W. Bush gestures to reporters in the Rose Garden. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
George H.W. Bush, Andover Philips Academy Year Book in 1964. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)
View of US Representative to the United Nations (and future US President) George HW Bush during a press conference, New York, New York, 1971. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
George Bush was captain of championship Yale baseball team, while completing college in 2-1/2 years after war service, Phi Beta Kappa, Economics, in 1948. (George Bush Presidential Library/MCT via Getty Images)
Unspecified - 1975: George HW Bush on ABC's 'Issues and Answers' program. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)
BEIJING, HEBEI, CHINA - 1975/05/01: Left to Right: Ted Castaneda, US 5K runner, George H.W. Bush, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China, speaks with Milt Richmond, journalist at the Track Stadium in Beijing, China in May 1975. The Chinese invited the US Track team to compete in 1975 in preparation for the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal. It was seen as a historic opening up of relations for communist China. (Photo by John J Boitano/Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - APRIL 16: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) (L-R) Lady Bird Johnson, President George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, President Gerald R. Ford, Betty Ford, President Jimmy Carter, and Rosalyn Carter pose for a formal group portrait at the Gerald R. Ford Library re-dedication on April 16, 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
During his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, American politician (and future US President) George HW Bush stands beside an open car door, Iowa, January 1980. (Photo Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 1981: Vice President George H.W. Bush explaining the new post of 'Crisis Manager' to the press in March 1981 in Washington, DC. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -- FEBRUARY 23: President Ronald Reagan (R) walks with Vice President George H.W. Bush as the President arrive at the Vice President's residence on February 23, 1981 in Washington, DC. President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan were visiting the Vice President's residence for the first time. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Detroit, MI - 1980: (L-R) Barbara Bush, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan at 1980 Republican National Convention from Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit, MI. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)
American politician (and future US President) George HW Bush speaks at an event during his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, Iowa, January 1980. His wife, future First Lady Barbara Bush, stands beside him. (Photo Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
Harnessed to Staff Sergeant Bryan Schell of United States Army Golden Knights, former US President George HW Bush (center, bottom) parachutes in celebration of his 80th birthday, outside Houston, Texas, June 13, 2004. The jump was performed near the Bush Presidential Library and was his fifth. (Photo by US Army via CNP/Getty Images)
During his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, American politician George HW Bush (left) speaks with journalist Stryker McGuire on a airplane during a flight, January 21, 1980. (Photo Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
KENNEBUNKPORT, ME - JULY 19: George HW Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, greets supporters along Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport, Maine on July 19, 1980. Bush is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Janet Knott/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -- CIRCA 1983: U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush at the Vice President's residence circa 1983 in in Washington, DC. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -- CIRCA 1986: U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush circa 1986 in in Washington, DC. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Vice President George H.W. Bush (R), during re-enactment of Senate Swear- In. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American politician and US President Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004) (right) and Vice President (and future President) George HW Bush relax together on Reagan's ranch, Santa Barbara, California, August 7, 1984. (Photo Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
Washington, DC. 6-25-1984 Vice-President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush attend a fish fry on the South Lawn of the White House. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush 1990. (Photo by Pete Souza/ABC via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 3: George H.W. Bush throws out the first pitch before the Texas Rangers Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox at The Ballpark in Arlington on April 3, 2000 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON -- JUNE 10: Laura Bush, Texas Governor George W Bush, George HW Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush at the Astrodome during part of the gala event celebrating the former president's 75th birthday in Houston, Texas on June 10, 1999. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Former Presidents George HW Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford at a memorial service for King Hussein held at the American Embassy, Amman, Jordan, February 8, 1999. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 7: Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush speak at the University of New Orleans campus December 7, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, along with Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, announced how the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund would be dispersed. Grants worth $30 million would go to Gulf region higher education institutions devastated by Hurricane Katrina, $20 million in grants would go to a ministerial partnership with local and regional faith-based organizations and $40 million would be divided among the three states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for their recovery and relief funds. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 15: (CHINA OUT) Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush speaks with post-surgery patients of Smile Train during a ceremony to launch the charity's new project on November 15, 2005 in Beijing, China. Free cleft lip surgery and related treatment provided by Smile Train, a non-profit organization, has helped many poor children in China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 02: Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, left, and his wife Barbara, acknowledge the audience on day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. The RNC will run until Sept. 4. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 02: Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush attends day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center on September 2, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The GOP will nominate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican choice for U.S. President on the last day of the convention. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Buddy Peterson, left, Louisville, shook hands with former President George H.W. Bush near the 10th green at the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Cub on Friday, September 19, 2008, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by David Perry/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
Former President Bill Clinton (L), former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush stand for the National Anthem at the Points of Light Institute Tribute to Former President George H.W. Bush at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts on March 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
HOUSTON - APRIL 08: Brad Mills, manager of the Houston Astros greets former US President George H.W. Bush at Minute Maid Park on April 8, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 13: Former President George H.W. Bush watches a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 13, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
KENNEBUNKPORT, ME - JUNE 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Former first lady Barbara Bush greets her husband and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush with a kiss after his successful skydive down to St. Anne's Episcopal Church on June 12, 2014 in Kennebunkport, Maine. The President is celebrating his 90th birthday today. (Photo by Eric Shea/Getty Images)
COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton address the audience during the 'Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal Concert' at Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University on October 21, 2017 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Ford Motor Company)
U.S. first lady Barbara Bush is pictured with President George H.W. Bush durina a presidential vacation in Kennebunkport, Maine, U.S., in this undated photo. U.S.. Former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush, the wife of the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, and mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush died on April 17, 2018. She was 92. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush waves from the field before game five of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros in Houston, Texas, U.S. on October 29, 2017. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool via USA TODAY Sports MANDATORY CREDIT
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush participates in the coin toss ahead of the start of Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons as former first lady Barbara Bush looks on in Houston , Texas, U.S., February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Mar 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; United States former president George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara Bush greet Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo , head coach Jason Garrett and tight end Jason Witten before the finals of the south regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament between the Duke Blue Devils and Gonzaga Bulldogs at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by former President George H.W. Bush upon their arrival on Air Force One in Houston, Texas April 9, 2014. Obama is in Houston to attend two Democratic Party fund raisers. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama and former President George H. W. Bush (R) applaud during an event to honor the winner of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award at the White House in Washington July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Former U.S. presidents George W. Bush (C) and his father George H.W. Bush laugh alongside former first ladies Laura Bush (R) and Barbara Bush (L) during the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, April 25, 2013. Obama is in Texas to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with former president George W. Bush in what could serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle against terrorism, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the Boston Marathon bombings. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Former United States Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush prepare to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Former President George H. W. Bush sits in a wheelchair during an event in the East Room at the White House, July 15, 2013 in Washington, DC. Bush joined President Obama in hosting the event to honor the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award winner. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush salutes as he departs the East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States in Washington January 20, 2009. Barack Obama took power as the first black U.S. president on Tuesday and quickly turned the page on the Bush years, urging Americans to rally to end the worst economic crisis in 70 years and repair the U.S. image abroad. REUTERS/Tannen Maury/Pool (UNITED STATES)
Former U.S. President George. H.W. Bush (C) smiles at his wife Barbara (L), as their son and former President George W. Bush (R) laughs, during the "All Together Now - A Celebration of Service" at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush (R) watches as his son, former President George W. Bush, throws a ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of Game 4 of Major League Baseball's World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers, in Arlington, Texas, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush attends the funeral service for his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, with his son the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, U.S., April 21, 2018. REUTERS/Richard Carson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Raised in an Episcopalian family in Massachusetts, Bush fused his preppy New England background with the more free-wheeling traits of his adoptive state of Texas, where he moved as a young man to work in the oil industry.

That mix was reflected in the music heard at his funeral: the St. Martin's Parish Choir sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," country music star Reba McEntire performed "The Lord's Prayer," and the casket was carried out of the church to the thunderous strains of "Onward Christian Soldiers."

 

LOCOMOTIVE 4141

Following the funeral service, Bush's remains were taken by train some 80 miles (130 km) northwest to College Station for the burial alongside his wife, Barbara, who died in April, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953.

Residents of small towns along the route gathered to wave at the train, a Union Pacific Corp locomotive numbered 4141 and bearing the name "George Bush 41" on the side, as it passed.

Bush, a U.S. Navy aviator who narrowly escaped death when he was shot down by Japanese forces over the Pacific Ocean during World War Two, was honored with a 21-plane flyover in a "missing man" formation before he was carried to his gravesite for a private interment.

A light rain that had fallen for much of the day in College Station ended just before the train carrying his body pulled into the station.

Bush was president from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces from oil-rich Kuwait.

He supported the passage of the American with Disabilities Act, a major civil rights law protecting disabled people from discrimination.

A patrician figure who served as vice president to Ronald Reagan, Bush lost re-election to a second term in part for failing to connect with ordinary Americans during an economic recession.

He has also been criticized for supporting tough drug laws that led to the disproportionate incarceration of black people, as well as what activists call an insufficient response to the AIDS epidemic.

But tributes in recent days have focused on the former Republican president as a man of integrity and kindness who represented an earlier era of civility in American politics. (Reporting by Loren Elliott in College Station, Texas; Additional reporting by Liz Hampton in Houston and Gary McWilliams in Houston, Steve Holland in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Writing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Frances Kerry and Peter Cooney)

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