I was particularly proud of America this week. Majestic Washington D.C. provided a glorious setting for the memorial tribute for President George H.W. Bush. Our nation stood tall as we marked the life of an accomplished man, but more significantly celebrated the continuity of government that is unique to these United States of America.
The President and three former President's joined the fifth member of their exclusive club as he prepared to lay to rest his father who, until Friday, had been the surviving sixth. Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump. These American leaders filled the front pews of the National Cathedral. Adding to the mix the candidates who came up short of the White House such as Bob Dole, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.
The Washington tributes were planned, in part, by the 41st President himself. They struck the right note, over and over. Respectful. Civil. Caring. Among the emotional poignant moments the family also brought humor and playfulness. President George W. Bush handed a hard candy to former First Lady Michelle Obama. In his eulogy he made fun of his father's shortcomings as few as they were. The eldest son included his father's poor short game on the golf course, his clumsy skills on the dance floor and his disdain for broccoli.
He needed the humor to keep breathing through the difficult stretches. That included the description of the final moment he spoke with his father last Friday. The son said his father was a good Dad. The father said , "I love you." What better way to end?
The procession off Capitol Hill and down Pennsylvania Avenue was reminiscent of a Inauguration Day. The flag draped casket recalled other Presidential funerals, particularly that of President Kennedy another of our World War II veteran presidents.
The gathering of elite DC inside the Cathedral had the warmth of a funeral for any of our own loved ones in our community's loveliest church. America stood tall just as President George Bush did, before we needed to add the H.W. Rest in peace to one of the nation's great public servants.