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Bush, president and patriarch, is home for Texas burial

AP  |  Houston 

George H.W. Bush, who shaped history as 41st and patriarch of a family that occupied the for a dozen years, is going to his final rest Thursday in

More than 11,000 people paid their respects to as his casket lay in repose all night at a church where his family worshipped. Some visitors waited for hours to pay tribute to Bush, who will be buried Thursday following a funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

The country said goodbye to him Wednesday in a national funeral service that offered high praise for the last of the presidents to have fought in World War II and a hefty dose of humor about a man once described as a cross between and

After three days of remembrance in Washington, a plane brought Bush's casket for his funeral's closing ceremonies in and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at A&M University in His final resting place is alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to at age 3.

In the service at National Cathedral, three former presidents and looked on as George W eulogized his father as "the brightest of a thousand points of light."

The cathedral service was a tribute to a president, a patriarch and a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility. It was laced with indirect comparisons to Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush's public life and character with plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.

"He was a man of such great humility," said Alan Simpson, former Republican from Those who travel "the high road of humility in Washington, D.C.," he added pointedly, "are not bothered by heavy traffic."

Trump sat with his wife, a trio of ex-presidents and their wives, several of them sharp critics of his presidency and one of them, Hillary Clinton, his 2016 Democratic foe. Apart from courteous nods and some handshakes, there was little interaction between Trump and the others.

George W broke down briefly at the end of his eulogy while invoking the daughter his parents lost in 1953 his mother, who died in April.

He took comfort in knowing "Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again."

It was a family that occupied the for a dozen years the 41st defeated after one term, the 43rd serving two. stepped up to try to extend that run but fell short when Trump won the 2016

The elder Bush was "the last great-soldier statesman," said in his eulogy, "our shield" in dangerous times.

But he also said that Bush, campaigning in a crowd in a department store, once shook hands with a mannequin. Rather than in embarrassment, he simply cracked, "Never know. Gotta ask."

Meacham recounted how once said the key to doing an impersonation of Bush was "trying to be "

None of those words would be a surprise to Bush. Meacham read his eulogy to him, said Bush Jim McGrath, and Bush responded to it with the crack: "That's a lot about me, Jon."

The congregation at the cathedral, filled with foreign leaders and diplomats, Americans of high office and others touched by Bush's life, rose for the arrival of the casket, accompanied by clergy of faiths from around the world. In their row together, Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama, and stood with their spouses and all placed their hands over their hearts.

Simpson regaled the congregation with stories from his years as Bush's friend in More seriously, he recalled that when he went through a rough patch in the political game, Bush conspicuously stood by him against the advice of aides. "You would have wanted him on your side," he said.

Simpson said Bush "loved a good joke the richer the better. And he threw his head back and gave that great laugh, but he never, ever could remember a punchline. And I mean never."

turned the humor back on the acerbic ex-senator, saying of the late president: "He placed great value on a good joke, so he chose Simpson to speak." Meacham praised Bush's call to volunteerism his "1,000 points of light" placing it alongside Abraham Lincoln's call to honor "the better angels of our nature" in the American rhetorical canon.

Meacham called those lines "companion verses in America's national hymn." Trump had mocked "1,000 points of light" last summer at a rally, saying "What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And it was put out by a Republican, wasn't it?"

Former Canadian praised Bush as a strong world leader who helped oversee the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the and helped bring about the North American Free Trade Agreement with and Mexico, signed into law by his successor, Clinton.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 18:30 IST