USA – Former USA President George H.W. Bush was honored Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral with a state funeral attended by current and former presidents and world leaders.
The funeral, which begun around 11:00 a.m. ET, included, among other things, several eulogies and musical tributes to the 41st president.
Bush passed away on Friday at the age of 94.
He was announced US President, having won election in 1988 after serving two terms as vice president under Ronald Reagan. He also was President Ford’s CIA director and President Nixon’s ambassador to the United Nations. His son, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000.
George W. Bush told CNN that his grandfather’s funeral was an opportunity for the nation to “put politics aside.”
“There’s a time for politics and there’s a time for governing, but there’s also a time for reflection, and this is a time for reflection for our country to think about the values that make our country great,” Bush added.
Bush said his father had a “quiet faith” and “he was sustained by the love of the Almighty” during times of trial, including the death of his three-year-old daughter Robin in 1953.
According to former secretary of state, James Baker, Bush had “great faith” in God and looked forward to heaven during his final hours.
“I’m comforted … by the way in which 41 was called to heaven,” Baker said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “He had a very gentle passing.”
“And one of his aides said, ‘Mr. President, Secretary Baker’s here.’ And he looked up. He opened both eyes. He looked at me. He said, ‘Where are we going?’ And I said, ‘We’re going to heaven, Jefe.’ And he said, ‘That’s where I want to go.’”
“Jefe,” Bush’s nickname, is Spanish for “chief.”
Bush “had great faith in God,” Baker told CBS’ Face the Nation.
“He was a religious person who didn’t wear his religion on his sleeve but he was a man of great faith,” Baker said.
American author and football coach Doug Meacham, in his biography on Bush, Destiny and Power, reported that the former president once was asked if he was “born again,”
Bush replied, “If by ‘born again’ one is asking, ‘Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?’ then I could answer a clean-cut ‘Yes.’ No hesitancy, no awkwardness.’”
Nevertheless, according to the Pew Research Center, Bush was one of 11 presidents who identified as Episcopalian.