Past presidents, family and friends bid farewell to Barbara Bush
HOUSTON – Agence France-Presse
Past presidents, family and friends came together April 21 to bid a tearful farewell to Barbara Bush, the matriarch of one of America’s most prominent political dynasties, at her funeral in Texas.
Bush, who died April 17 aged 92, was wife to the 41st U.S. president and mother to the 43rd. She was remembered for her friendship, her wit and her strength.
The invitation-only service at St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston was attended by four former presidents: George H.W. Bush -- Barbara’s husband of 73 years -- their son George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as other former senior officials.
First Lady Melania Trump attended but her husband President Donald Trump did not, with the White House saying his decision to stay in Washington was taken “to avoid disruptions due to added security.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family,” the president wrote on Twitter, saying he planned to watch the funeral ceremony.
“It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush,” Melania Trump said in a statement.
“My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W. and the entire Bush family.”
The public had the opportunity to pay their respects to Barbara Bush at a visitation the previous day.
“Barbara Bush filled our lives with laughter and joy,” her son Jeb, a former Florida governor and presidential candidate, said during the service.
“She was our teacher and role model on how to live a life of purpose and meaning,” he said.
“Mom got us through our difficult times with consistent, take-it-to-the-bank, unconditional but tough love.”
Bush made history as one of just two women to be wife and mother to U.S. presidents. Abigail Adams, who died in 1818, was the other.