A divided Washington led by the nation’s five living presidents put on a show of unity Wednesday at the poignant state funeral of George H.W. Bush, as America bade farewell to its 41st president.
Donald and Melania Trump shared a front row pew at Washington National Cathedral with past presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and their wives as an honor guard brought Bush’s flag-draped casket into the packed prayer hall.
George W. Bush delivered a rousing and deeply personal eulogy — at times punctuated by laughter — as he sang the praises of his father and predecessor as commander-in-chief, who died Friday at age 94.
“He was born with just two settings — full throttle, then sleep,” Bush said. “To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light,” he added in reference to his father’s signature call to volunteerism.
“When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States.”
Bush’s eulogy followed an uplifting performance by Irish tenor Ronan Tynan — a friend of Bush who sang to the president in his dying hours.
Wednesday’s state funeral caps a day-long homage that saw Bush lie in state for two days in the US Capitol rotunda.
Since Bush’s death, Trump has traded his usual provocative posture for one of respect and solemnity, tweeting before heading to the cathedral about “a day of celebration for a great man.”