George H.W. Bush’s eight grandsons served as honorary pall bearers at his Houston funeral on Thursday, walking solmenly in front of his flag-draped casket as it was led into the church ahead of a second, memorial service for the former president.
Thursday’s service was smaller than the state funeral held in Washington DC at the National Cathedral where foreign dignitaries, royalty and all five living presidents came together in grief to pay tribute to George H.W.
All 17 of the Bush grandchildren attended that service but their role on Thursday was more prominent.
The grandsons – George Prescott Bush, John Ellis Bush, Jr., Pierce Mallon Bush, Charles Walker Bush, Samuel Bush LeBlond, Robert Daniel Koch, Robert Pace Andrews II and Thomas Alexander Andrews – did not carry their grandfather’s casket. That honor belonged to members of the military.
The casket of George H.W. Bush is brought into St Martin’s Episcopal Church, led by his grandsons who acted as honorary pallbearers to walk it in, on Thursday
The granddaughters walked in from the side of the church to take their seats with their spouses in the front rows
Barbara Bush gave a reading with her cousins, l-r: Elizabeth Dwen Andrews, Noelle Bush (behind Barbara) and Marshall Bush
The first readings on Thursday were from four of the granddaughters; Marshall Bush, Barbara Bush, Noelle Bush and Elizabeth Dwen Andrews, Neil Bush’s stepdaughter.
George H.W. Bush died last Friday at home in Houston aged 94
George Prescott Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, eulogized their grandfather. His eulogy echoed those of the previous day which described the former president as a devoted family man and steadfast leader.
George Prescott described receiving letters from his ‘Gampy’ that were addressed to him, his cousins and his siblings, which told them how much he loved them and would always be there for them.
At the end of his eulogy, he said: ‘In death, as in life, my grandfather has won. He has exchanged his earthly burdens for a heavenly home and is at peace.
‘Yes, George Herbert Walker Bush is the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that I will ever know.
‘It is the honor of a lifetime to share his name. God bless you Gampy. Until we meet again. Maybe on that rock boat that we built together.’
He took to the pulpit after a tearful James Baker, George H.W.’s secretary of state and best friend who was with him in his final days in Houston.
Baker sobbed as he finished his dignified and heartfelt speech.
He was overcome with emotion the previous day, as was former president George W. Bush who buckled into tears as he told of his hope that his father had been reunited with his mother Barbara and their toddler daughter Robin, who died in 1953 from leukemia, in heaven.
George Prescott Bush, the oldest grandson, gave a moving eulogy where he paid tribute to his beloved ‘Gampy’