AP NEWS

Bush eulogized with humor, reverence: Darcy cartoon

December 6, 2018

Bush eulogized with humor, reverence: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In four wonderful eulogies and a sermon, late President George H.W. Bush was remembered with reverence, tears and humor, as an energetic, humble, kind, great statesman,husband and father who  enjoyed a good laugh and skydive.

His son, President George W. Bush described a high energy father who went skydiving on his 90th birthday.    His zest for life was driven by two near-death experiences as a young man.  First a bout with staph infection, second, being shot down as a Navy aviator in World War II.

“He was born with two settings. Full throttle, then sleep,” said George W. Bush. “He taught us that a day was not to be wasted. He played (golf) fast so he could move on to the next event, to enjoy the rest of the day, to expand his enormous energy.”

The late president’s biographer, John Meachman was the first eulogist to speak.  Meachman recalled how comedian Dana Carvey said the trick to impersonating Bush was to mimic “Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne.”

Meachman noted the president’s Yogi Berra-like speaking stumbles, such as when he said, “It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or the other.”

“His tongue may have run amok at moments, but his heart was steadfast.  His life code, as he said, was: Tell the truth, don’t blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course. And that was-and-is the most American of creeds.”

Meachman concluded that “The workings of providence are mysterious, but this much is clear: The George Herbert Walker Bush who survived that fiery fall into the waters of the Pacific made our lives, and the lives of nations, freer, better, warmer, nobler.”

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney followed Meachman.  Mulroney highlighted Bush’s statesmanship.  

“There is a word for this: It is called ‘leadership.’ And let me tell you that when George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew they were dealing with a true gentlemen, a genuine leader, one who was distinguished, resolute and brave.”

Next up, was another longtime Bush friend, former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson.  The 87 year old provided quotes that were as great as his humorous memories.

“Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life.”

“He was a man of such great humility.  Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C., are not bothered by heavy traffic.”

“He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”

“The most decent and honorable person I ever met was my friend, George Bush.  One of nature’s noblemen.  His epitaph? Perhaps just a  single letter, the letter ‘L’ for loyalty.  It coursed through his blood.  Loyalty to his country, loyalty to his family, loyalty to his friends, loyalty to the institutions of government and always, alway a friend to his friends.”

In the moving final eulogy, President George W. Bush described his father as “The brightest of a thousand points of light.”

“He valued character over pedigree and he was no cynic.  He looked for the good in each person and he usually found it.   “In victory, he shared credit.  When he lost he shouldered the blame.  He accepted that failure is part of living a full life but taught us to never be defined by failure.”

“When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a president of the United States: a diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander-in-chief of formidable accomplishment , and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor.”

“Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband.  He married his sweetheart. He adored her.  He laughed and cried with her.  He was dedicated to her totally.”  

“All he wanted to do is hold Mom’s hand again.”

Unable to hold back his tears any longer, President Bush choked up, as he concluded speaking simply as a son mourning the loss of his father and mother in front of church filled with dignitaries and untold numbers watching of television.

“We’re going to miss you.  Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever.  So through our tears, let us see the blessings of knowing and loving you - a great and noble man, and the best father a son or daughter could have.”

“And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”

Three-year-old Robin Bush died in 1953 from leukemia.  George W. said his father prayed for her everyday.

One of the eulogists had recalled the George H.W. Bush had a rating system for jokes he collected.   I hope today’s cartoon would get a passing grade from him.   The memorial service he planned and the eulogists he chose, rated a ten out of ten,.

AP RADIO
Update hourly