Leaders pay last respects to George H.W. Bush in Washington | News | DW | 05.12.2018
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Leaders pay last respects to George H.W. Bush in Washington

Family, friends and international dignitaries attended the state funeral of former US President George Herbert Walker Bush in Washington, D.C. The 41st president died at the age of 94 on Friday.

On Wednesday, the flag-draped casket of former US President George H.W. Bush was transported to Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral for a state funeral after lying in state in the Capitol's Rotunda since Monday.

The casket was sent off to the cathedral to the sound of cannons and received at its door to the sounds of "Hail to the Chief."

The service was attended by US President Donald Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Foreign dignitaries included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Polish president Lech Walesa and Britain's Prince Charles.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in the front row at the state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018 (Reuters/K. Lamarque)

Four former presidents attended the ceremony alongside current President Donald Trump

The somber affair was seen by many as a fitting farewell to a president and statesman who oversaw the peaceful reunification of Germany and end of the Cold War.

Courage, public service and humor

Bush was eulogized by presidential historian John Meacham, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Senator Alan Simpson and his son, former President George W. Bush.

All of them spoke enthusiastically about the former president's personal and political accomplishments, underscoring Bush's courage, public service and humor. Most of all, they stressed his humility and sensitivity.

Remembering Bush's civility, Simpson said that both friends' mothers had taught them not to hate, for "hatred corrodes the container that it is carried in."

Angela Merkel attends George H.W. Bush's funeral (picture alliance/dpa/E. Vucci)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also in attendance

Bush praises his father

After thanking those gathered for their attendance, George W. Bush delivered a warm and jovial eulogy for his father, noting that "Dad taught us to face life with dignity, humor and kindness."

"When the history books are written they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great 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," he said.

The younger Bush teared up as he delivered his final farewell, tapping his father's casket as he returned to his pew.

George H.W. Bush was the last serviceman to occupy the White House. His body will now return to Texas, where he will be buried at the George Bush Presidential Library alongside Barbara, his wife of 73 years, who died in April of this year.

js/amp (AFP, AP)

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