George H. W. Bush laid to rest at Texas A & M

President George H.W. Bush lies in state in the Capitol rotunda in Washington on Dec. 6.

President George H.W. Bush lies in state in the Capitol rotunda in Washington on Dec. 6.

George Herbert Walker Bush was laid to rest Dec. 6, at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A & M University in College Station.

From a war hero to the nation’s 41st president, George H.W. Bush held a number of distinguished public roles in nearly a century of life.

Many of those who knew him describe him as a man who possessed the value of humility.

Bush died Nov. 30 in Houston at age 94. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, he was the second of five children born to Dorothy Walker Bush and Prescott Bush.

 Fast forward 18 years, his patriotism led him to enlist in the Navy to become a fighter pilot following graduation from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. During bombing raids on Chichi Jima, Bush would be the only one of nine shot down to evade capture. He later received the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery.

After serving in World War II and then graduating from Yale University, Bush, moved to Texas with his wife Barbara. The New England native found a pathway to success in the oil-and-gas industry before being elected to Congress from Houston in 1966.

Bush later served as ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and vice president to Ronald Reagan.

The state funeral was the product of years of planning and practice by military officials and the late president himself.

The 41st president left a significant legacy beyond his professional career. During his funeral service, speakers remembered his sense of humor and his charisma. 

Bush’s biographer, Jon Meacham reminisced on how he accidentally shook the hand of a store mannequin in New Hampshire while on the campaign trail.

His son, President George W. Bush gave the crowd a reason to laugh as he touched on his father’s imperfections, including his flawed dancing and his strong dislike for vegetables, particularly broccoli. 

The military honors were impressive. Having followed the tradition of planning his funeral while still in office, there had been decades of preparations to execute the wishes of Mr. Bush.

For two nights, various honor guards, stood by his coffin as he lay in state in the Capitol rotunda. The fanfare included “Hail to the Chief,” 21-gun salutes and  the toll of funeral bells as his coffin arrived at Washington National Cathedral, according to The New York Times.

George W. Bush described his father as a genuinely selfless man who “valued character over pedigree.” A man who found the good in everyone and gave credit in victorious moments while accepting responsibility for difficult times.

“To us, his was the brightest of 1,000 points of light,” Bush said, echoing a phrase that his father would often use, according to the Associated Press.

As a 21-gun salute sounded from cannons summoned to the base of Capitol Hill, a military band played the official Hail to the Chief as the coffin appeared at the top of the Capitol steps. 

While mournful hymns played, the honor guard slowly carried the coffin down to a waiting hearse. The Capitol grounds fell silent as the hearse drove away, according to the Associated Press.

George W. Bush waved from the motorcade to onlookers along Constitution Avenue.

The impact of Bush was predictable. Gate 41 was closed at George Bush Airport in Houston in his honor. The automated gate monitor read “In Memory of George H.W. Bush.”

Former President Bush will be remembered for his humility and humor. 

Former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming gave remarks during the funeral sharing that elder Bush was the kind of a person one would want to be surrounded by.

“You would have wanted him on your side,” Simpson said. “He never lost his sense of humor. Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life.”

– This story includes information reported by The Associated Press and various media sources.