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Bush 41's Final Farewell: 'It's Happy, But It's Sad Because We Don't Have Him Anymore'

12-07-2018
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For his final trip, George Herbert Walker Bush chose a mode of transportation that's befitting of the last presidents of the Greatest Generation – a train bearing his name.

Thousands of Texans lined the rails in small towns that dot the route to honor Bush 41 as he traveled to his final destination, the Bush Presidential Library in College Station.

"It's just an honor to be here. He served our country for so many years," said a woman who watched the train as it passed through Spring, Texas. 

It was a peaceful journey that began in Houston at Saint Martin's Church where Bush's friends and family gathered for a final service to say goodbye. It's the same place the family gathered in April to remember their mother and grandmother, Barbara Bush.

The Oakridge Boys sang "Amazing Grace." Meanwhile, country music artist Reba McEntire brought former President George W. Bush to tears with her performance of "The Lord's Prayer."

James Baker, 41's former secretary of state and a dear friend, was with him when he died.

"We rejoice, Mr. President, that you are safely tucked in now and throughout the ages with God's loving arms around you," he said as he fought back tears. "Because our glory, George, was to have you as our president and as such a friend." 

Bush's grandson and namesake, George P. Bush, offered yet another heart-warming glimpse into the life of the former president.

"In a typical day, he would wake up around 5:00 am to review security briefings and grab his first coffee of the day. When the coast was clear, the grandkids would try to snag a spot on the bed and nestle up between him and gammy when they read the paper," he said.

Back in College Station, after the train stopped, a military band played one final "Hail to the Chief" as Bush's casket detrained.

Moments later, the largest missing man formation ever performed, with 21 fighter jets, flew over to honor the former Navy pilot.

Bush now rests alongside his wife of 73 years – his "silver fox" that he affectionately called "Bar" – and his daughter Robin who the couple lost to leukemia when she was just 3 years old.

Now, as 41's remarkable life of service comes to an end, for his family and Americans everywhere this final farewell is bittersweet.

"It's happy because George Herbert Walker Bush gets to be with his wife, but it's sad because, well, we don't have him anymore," said a young boy who gathered along the train tracks to watch the former president pass by.  
 

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