AUSTIN, Texas – The casket with the remains of former US President George H.W. Bush returned to the Ellington Field military base in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday to receive a final tribute from his family and friends on the following day.
The Mass will take place at 10:00 am local time (1600 GMT) at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where he and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died in April of this year, attended service regularly.
After the private service, the 41st president of the United States will be transferred to his final resting place aboard a train whose locomotive was named “Bush 4141,” specifically to honor his life.
The journey of this train will end in the town of College Station, Texas, 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Houston, where he will be buried in his presidential library with his wife and daughter Robin, who died at age 3 from leukemia.
The casket flew to Texas from Washington, DC, where a state funeral already took place Wednesday morning with an emotional ceremony held at the National Cathedral, attended by political leaders and royals from around the world.
US President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, sat in the front row of the church alongside former Democratic presidents Barack Obama (2009-2017), Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), who attended the homily with their wives, Michelle, Hillary and Rosalynn, respectively.
The also ex-president George W. Bush (2001-2009), visibly moved, described his father as a man of “optimistic” character and said that what he liked to do most was to laugh, “especially at himself.”
“In victory, he shared credit. When he lost, he shouldered the blame. He accepted that failure is part of living a full life,” said the Republican in an apparent nod to the defeat his father suffered in the 1992 elections, which prevented him from serving a second term.
The patriarch of the Bush family was a war pilot during World War II, congressman, ambassador to the UN, director of the CIA, vice president in the administration of Ronald Reagan between 1981-1989 and ended his four-decade political career to become a president (1989-1993), from where he led the end of the Cold War.