tv Good Morning America ABC December 5, 2018 7:00am-9:01am PST
you can watch the whole thing of course on television as well. we will hear from george w. bush, one of the primary speakers as he and others deliver the eulogy for our former president. ♪ >> announcer: this is an abc news special report. >> i will keep america moving forward, always forward. this is my mission, and i will complete it. >> announcer: celebrating president george herbert walker bush. now reporting, george stephanopoulos. good morning and welcome to our special coverage of the state funeral of president george h.w. bush. it is a national day of mourning all across the country for our 41st president who has been lying in state there at the u.s. capitol for the last 35 years and what a remarkable 35 hours
it has been. that is the view from the capitol rotunda there. so many americans have come to pay their respects to the forme. his family, of course, was there. also a special moving tribute from his fellow world war ii combat veteran, robert dole, bitter political rival as well who came into that rotunda yesterday and gave a salute to the president he ran against and served. both members of the greatest generation. our chief congressional correspondent, mary bruce, has been on capitol hill for all this. it has been a moving, moving couple of days, mary. >> reporter: george, it has just been remarkable to see the outpouring of support here for the former president.
think about this, more than 40,000 americans came through that rotunda to pay honor and tribute to the former president, people from all walks of life. we had a chance to speak with them. some told us they were too young to even remember his presidency but they felt the need to come out here and stand in what has been a cold couple of days here in washington in order to have a chance to say good-bye to the former president. so many of those who stood in line here say they benefitted from the president and his policies. many americans wanted to say thank you to him for passing the disabilities act, saying that it had a real impact on their lives. then of course many of those that we saw in the rotunda there were the president's friends, his former colleagues, many who served with him in the cia, many of his fellow former veterans, and of course that remarkable moment with bob dole. >> it was really something. the esident's family visited
there last night as well. george w. bush and his family now at blair house preparing to make their way. you see there we have the honor for the president who signed, as mary was saying, the americans for disabilities act, transforming the lives for so many americans with disabilities. the world is a completely different place because of that law signed by president george h.w. bush in 1990. you see tom ridge, of course, who served as secretary of homeland security for george w. bush. as i said, george w. bush and his family stayed at blair house. they're preparing to make that trek now from there to the capitol where they had accompany the president to the national cathedral of course where the funeral ceremony will be held a little later this morning. george bush himself called the national cathedral a symbol of our national spiritual life that overlooks our natural secular life. it is the highest spot and "world news tonight" anchor david muir is there. >> reporter: george, we've already seen a number of family faces here, condoleezza rice, colin powell, former vice
president joe biden will be arriving just a short time from now. president bush when he was briefed on his plans for the funeral and lying in state back in 2011, in his famous humor, his candid way asked, will anyone come. we can only imagine what he would make of what we've seen here in washington the last 24, 48 hours, the every day americans who showed up and paid tribu tribute, the parents who leaned down to their children to talk about the humility, the gentleman he was, served this country as a young man, world war ii, the last of the greatest generation to serve. we can see al gore, vice president mike pence there. we know president obama will be here with former first lady michelle obama. they had a close friendship. you can see former president carter here in the cathedral as
well. we know of course former president bill clinton will be here, secretary of state hillary clinton as well. we know the friendship they forged, george, as well. it was a stinging defeat in 1992 but they became very close friends. barbara bush would call them the odd couple, said he was like an extra son. he said perhaps i was the father that bill clinton never had. you see jimmy carter, roselyn carter there being greeted by the crowd. one last note, george w. bush was giving a speech, george, back when bill clinton was having heart surgery and he made a joke, he said bill clinton just woke from heart surgery surrounded by those who love him, hillary, chelsea and my dad. >> neil bush called him the brother from another mother. and of course president trump will also be there today. he's had a great hand in this ceremony as well. jon karl also at the national cathedral. >> reporter: president trump made air force one available to
transport george h.w. bush's casket here to washington. after this ceremony he will board that plane that is air force one to go back to texa this is a truce, a truce in what is a very tense relationship between donald trump and the entire bush family. i mean, you really can't overstate it, george. george herbert walker bush in his last political act actually voted for a democrat, voted for hillary clinton, he was so upset by the way donald trump had treated his son, jeb bush, during that campaign. but there was certainly a change. he reached out to donald trump just days before his inauguration. and george, earlier this summer, this year, the bush family reached out to the trumps and made it very clear that they wanted him to be at this memorial. of course you remember he was not invited to barbara bush's
memorial earlier this year but they made it clear they wanted this to be a time of unity. they wanted the president to be part of it, and that this would not be in any way a political funeral in any way critical of the president. >> and we are looking there inside the national cathedral. a pair of vice presidents right there, al gore and joe biden. mrs. biden there as well. all of official washington will be there inside the national cathedral today. cokie roberts, you know scenes like this well. >> they are quite something. yes, it is a time of mourning but it's also a time of seeing each other, people who haven't seen each other in a long time. they're happy to greet each other and happy to say someth g something -- each one of them will say something about george h.w. bush. they will say, you know, some moment that he touched them. there's president carter, 94 years old himself. but that's what struck me so much, george, in all these
eulogies, all these days, every single one somebody had something to say where george bush had touched them personally. >> he was a man who reached out. he's an old-fashioned politician, a networking politician who tied people together with that habit he had of writing letters every single night late in his study. mark, you studied the president well, you know him well. that is also the sign of a bygone era. >> he was the guy who would reach out with a note or a call of encouragement when you needed it. he was somebody who cared, and frankly, that skill happened to be what we needed at the time he was in office because it showed what a great diplomat he was. one of the reasons that barbara bush said that he was so effective is that he would reach out to people when he didn't need them abroad. when he did need them it made it easier to say, hey look, i need you on this one. that's why we got a coalition of 29 nations around the liberation
of kuwait -- make that kuwait from iraqi capture. >> we see jared kushner and ivanka trump, donna brazile with us as well. donna, his ability to reach out extended to those, including you, one of his political adversarie adversaries. >> absolutely, george. both in life and in death president bush knew how to bring people together. he had an uncanny ability to reach out. he was a man who called us to service, to volunteer, to believe in the country and to believe in each other. i was struck just going on capitol hill the last few days at the number of people in line, perhaps many who never voted for him but he revered his service. they respected him. it was an awesome sight to see interns and congressional staffers standing in line to pay their tribute. >> the core of that service, martha raddatz, the first act of service by george h.w. bush as a fighter pilot, volunteered at the age of 18 in world war ii
and never forgot those he served with. >> i think that really formed who he was. half his squadron was actually killed during his time of service. he flew 58 missions, and 8 of them were after he himself was shot down. i was told that last january barbara bush called the secretary of defense, jim mattis, and said one of george h.w. bush's last wishes was that they would find one of his best friends, the remains of one of his best friends who was killed five weeks before george bush. they happened to have some information about where that plane went down. they discovered through a navy ship and navy divers a dog tag, a nearly complete set of remains, but they did not find lieutenant rolandpowell.
they found the two others. i'm told president trump called president bush himself and said we could not find your friend, lieutenant howell, but we found otis ingram and walter mintas. president bush did not miss a beat. he said that's wonderful news, i'm so glad we have recovered two av yaters. >> we see kellyanne conway there. terry moran is here with us. prince charles is going to be coming in as well. it's a reminder also of the depth of experience that president george h.w. bush brought to the white house when he became president. >> few presidents have ever had that kind of experience and it came in handy because he was president at that critical moment. we saw the fall of the wall and it was a celebration.
it could have been the start of a war. the reason it wasn't is because of the character that george h.w. bush brought. >> we see prince charles. we saw the former british prime minister john major, all coming to prepare for this funeral. michael duffy is joining us as well. michael, all the former living presidents, all of them will be there this morning. >> watching this scene in the nave of the cathedral this morning, i'm struck by how much george h.w. bush would have loved this particular part of the service the most. he was a politician who was something of a rarity. he took the job very seriously but not himself too seriously. he's master of the one-on-one and this particular part of the service where he would have gotten to see all these people who he touched all throughout his life would make him very happy now, including some of the former presidents who he was able to get along with so well
and some not so well. >> that is very fair. mark, i was reading about this last night again. david was talking about his fractious relationship with bill clinton in the campaign. >> he always talked about the sharp elbows that you have and some of that is natural. these are political prag mists. they know it's not going to be easy. it's a testament to both men that they came together after their presidencies were over and in the name of disaster relief. >> you know, george -- >> we're seeing prime minister brian mulroney of canada right there who of course is going to give one of the eulogies today. you mentioned disaster relief, donna brazile. you worked with president bush during hurricane katrina.
>> soon after, i talked to bill clinton. i wrote a column in "the washington post" and i said i want to help the president. president bush, george h.w. bush, saw the letter and called the white house and for three yes i had an opportunity to work with the bush administration on rebuilding after katrina. mrs. bush, barbara bush, along with the president, spent countless years helping us to not only rebuild the beloved gulf coast that i hail from, but also they provided resources for historical black colleges and universities. he cared about the people of the gulf coast and i'm just grateful that i had an opportunity to say thank you to the president for his great work. >> your hometown as well. >> my hometown and it was really quite remarkable what he did. and laura bush also in louisiana. i interviewed president bush in 2004, a long interview about the constitution. at that point he said to me, bill clinton and i will never be
friends the way jimmy carter and jerry ford are friends. then in 2005 they became friends. it was george w. bush who put them together in the same w-- understanding that these men should know each other and share their experiences and take those experiences out to the world and, boy, did they. they did it all over the application, in indonesia, katrina and haiti, one place after another. they made an enormous difference. they raised billions of dollars to help people. it was a really good relationship in the end. >> and we're seeing the scene there at the capitol where president bush, when he is taken out of the capitol, will start the motorcade for the ride up to the washington national cathedral. we're told that george w. bush is about there with the rest of the family. terry moran, you covered george w. this is going to be a difficult but important moment for him as
well of course delivering one of the eulogies for his father sfl . >> as a president but as a son as well. we know the bushes are an emotional family. they tease each other that they're weepers. that has been true of both the first and second president bushs. for george w. bush, this is going to be a very difficult moment. i asked him once what did he get from his dad that helped him the most as president. he said unconditional love. i have always known. >> unconditional love, but mark, you've written a book about the presidents and their relationship, the two the presidents. a lot of underlying tension there as well. >> how can there not be? one of the things that george w. bush would say is that his father was not heavy-handed in terms of the direction that his son's life would take and pleased when he got into the political arena. let's face it, when you're president of the united states and your dad was there before
you, there's going to be a little underlying tension. >> the son is now approaching the capital with the rest of the family to greet the father. mary bruce on capitol hill, you've got the dignitaries lining up there as well. >> reporter: george, you can see those dignitaries now out on the plaza. the president's family motorcade pulling in right behind me, that lone hearse sitting on the east front of the capitol and the special honor guard on the side of the steps waiting for the president's remains to make their final departure from the capital. of course this is the place where his political career began and where so many having coming through to say their final good-bye. from my vantage point i can see members of the public still here out on the streets hoping to get one final glimpse. from here of course the president's motorcade will travel up pennsylvania avenue, passing by the white house. members of the public, we expect, will continue to line that route despite the chilly weather out here. everyone coming out to say one last final good-bye. >> we're looking at the leaders of congress there to greet the
family. you've got mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, also chuck schumer, democratic leader nancy pelosi and speaker of the house paul ryan. that is the scene at the capitol right now. cokie roberts, mary mentioned that he started his career in the house, served every branch of government except the judiciary. >> right, that's true. when he came to the congress there was no reason to believe he would have this illustrious career. he had lost for the senate. he was elected from a very safe district and on he went. i see -- >> yeah, that's doro koch and bobby koch. that's his daughter. as you pointed out, cokie, neil bush right there, one of had her father's primary care takers in his final months. >> the two of them, doro in maine and neil in houston. george, i keep looking at that fabulous picture taken from the dome down onto the casket and thinking of 41 under the fresco of one, of george washington in
heaven, and thinking that soon he'll join him there or maybe he has already. he said to jenna, gurceorge h.w bush said to his granddaughter, i believe in heaven. i'm just a little confused about how i find everything. >> he finally said he would want to say hello to barbara first. we see secretary of state james baker right there, managed every one of george bush's campaigns, a friendship forged in adversity. they became friends after james baker was widowed. forged in adversity, terry moran, but how consequential. >> it made george h.w. bush's career to have jim baker by his side, managed every one of his campaigns brilliantly. brush brought him into the reagan white house and then a brilliant secretary of state. they were true partners as well as very close friends. >> his first cabinet appointment was james baker, which shows his interest not only in james baker
but in foreign affairs as well. >> there we so president george w. bush, laura bush, neil and the rest of the family lining up now. that is the commanding general michael howard. he's been in charge of all these preparations, has been by george w.'s side throughout all the ceremonies, and run with such precision, so beautifully done. martha raddatz, this is where the military does its work so well. it's one of our most magnificent civic rituals. >> george, all of us have sat through civic rituals and i've seen the same rituals in combat zones. it is such an important time to grieve together. it's how the military does it. it is that precision. it is we will do this together, we will share this grief, and we will move on together. >> mark, you see the wear there on the families' face. they've had a duty over these
last several days as well. >> you know, that family is exceptionally close. the bushes have a huge network of friends throughout the world, and yet ultimately blood is tricker than water. that family is as thick as thieves, and this must have taken a real toll on them. >> the honor guard now coming to the top of the steps. we will hear "ruffles and flourishes", "hail to the chief." a final procession out of the capitol for george h.w. bush.
official honor guard as well. the military executing it so well, michael duffy, but one of the other things that all presidents share, helping plan their funerals. >> yes, george. it begins long before they leave the white house. very early on in a presidency, the u.s. military district of washington, the outfit you mentioned earlier, spends time with the president and his family or her family to plan these events. some of it is dictated by tradition, some of it is up to interpretation by the family as to where they want some of the pieces to take place, who comes obviously and down to the details of music and prayers. but it can take a president months to work this out, and when they're done it's usually a set of four or five very large binders ready to go. of course the military district of washington practices this annually. i'm struck watching it, george, that this is a ritual pull full
pomp and circumstance. as much as it is for george h.w. bush, it's really about the presidency itself. it's an office to the founders created and we take care of and nurture. while it's powerful, it is also delicate and fragile and it has to be minded and this is one of the ways we do it. it's quite a public moment for the military as well. >> transcends any individual in the office. let's listen to george h.w. bush talking about planning his funeral. >> almost the minute you become president you are pestered to put into writing your funeral arrangements. i wrote this note to my right hand person in the oval office to add to my funeral file. >> june 10, 1991, to patty, re, my burial instructions. i want the song "last full measure of devotion" sung by a good male soloist at any church or memorial service. grave stone, the plain stones we
see at arlington. i would like my navy number on the back of it. i believe it is 0173464. also on the stone in addition to what i already requested, he loved barbara very much. >> he got the singer as well, ronan tinen will sing at the national cathedral later today. that's a reminder as well, cokie roberts, of course the president is going to be buried at texas a&m. these plans subject to revision. >> completely. i was at the funeral of the long-time correspondent here, hugh sidy. he was supposed to be one of george bush's you'eulogists. george bush said i'm not going to be able to give this. he started and said doro, you're going to have to finish this. >> we see hillary clinton there. of course she'll be at the service as well.
one of the reasons, mark, of course it has to change is that it turned out that president bush -- as we see bill clinton, jimmy carter there as well, vice president mike pence. george h.w. bush had a long post-presidency, a long and fulfilling one. >> yeah, he did. he left office in 1993 and has come perilously close to death in the last several years. i think what sustained him, george, was family. when i saw him in kennebunkport over the summer, no one thought he would get to kennebunkport by the way, let alone back to houston where he passed away, they talked about how sustaining his family was, what a bond it was to him so see family in kennebunkport.
>> as we talk about family, david muir at the national cathedral, of course the whole family knew that when they lost barbara bush earlier this year, that would be such a blow to the president. >> reporter: they knew it would be a blow and they also knew that their grandfather likely knew that it would not be long before he was reunited with his beloved barbara who by the way he met at a christmas dance before he left to serve in world war ii. one of the things that we've heard so much about in these last few days was the remarkable relationship that he had with his grandchildren. obviously he had 17, 8 great-grandchildren. we learned today that two of his grandchildren who are in the public eye, of course jenna and barbara who grew up in the white house with george w. bush and their mother laura of course, this they have seen the eulogy that their father will deliver here at the national cathedral behind me in washington, and
that their father asked them for input and they offered suggestions. they described that it's difficult to express just how much you love someone, and that will be the real challenge for their father today. they said the other challenge and quite frankly and you mentioned it earlier, that this is a family of weepers and many of us in this country are grateful that they are. but the other challenge will be for their father to keep it together in front of this cathedral here today. george, we've seen here people arrive here, president bill clinton, hillary clinton being embraced by michelle obama moments ago. perhaps this is a post humous service to the country for george h.w. bush that he was able to get this moment of unity. so many people already at the cathedral, george. >> we're seeing mercedes-benz mercedes-be -- michelle obama talking to former president bill clinton. >> george h.w. bush wrote his greatest accomplishment was that his children still come home. >> they come home. he tended to them.
he talked about some of the greatest joys in his life, being able to be young again with his grandchildren. easy scene there in the front row with barack obama and bill clinton. you'd love to know what the joke is about as they're talking. >> and they're both talking. >> they're going to talk over each other. michael duffy, as i've said, you've written about this club of former presidents. they don't get together all that often except for occasions like this. >> no, i think the last time this many were together, george, was when george walker bush invited all the members of the club to meet barack obama early in 2009. that was for a lunch. they didn't talk about congress or the middle east or how to get a budget through. they talked about what it was like to raise daughters in the white house because all of them had tried. they all found it hard and
frustrating, just like every parent. so that was interesting. jimmy carter told me after that session that there should have been more to eat too. they were a little light on food. so it's just like any club, just a little smaller and harder to get into. >> jon karl, president obama was able to spend just a few minutes with president bush earlier this week. we're seeing also the supreme court right now, ruth bader ginsburg, elena kagan, justice thomas of course one of two picks by president bush to the supreme court. he's there on the left. david souter chose to retire from the court but he's there as well. of course this is one of the president's most important responsibilities. everyone now waiting. jon karl, president trump will soon join that front row. >> reporter: that's what i'm struck -- i'm looking at those former presidents and first
ladies obviously sharing memories of george h.w. bush, enjoying each other's company, and in moments we will see joining that row melania and donald trump. you will see melania trump will be seated right next to barack obama, and then on the aisle, president trump. obviously a very different relationship, george, but for this day, for this moment a truce and a moment of unity, a rare moment of unity in our deeply divided country to celebrate the life of our oldest -- who was until he died, our oldest living past president. >> vice president pence there i believe greeting the clintons, making his way over. he eulogized the president at the capitol just the other night, terry moran. >> it's worth saying as we await president trump that he hasn't
put a foot wrong since george h.w. bush died, not a false note. he has done what we expect presidents to do which is represent the nation. he sent air force one down there, paid a visit to blair house, had been in contact with the bush family. it is one of his most presidential moments in the traditional sense of that. >> despite the fact, mark, you know -- he told you -- what president bush thought of donald trump while he was running for president. >> he did. he said i don't know him but i don't like him, and he called him a blow hard. i think donald trump is a very different person than george h.w. bush, let alone different in terms of temperament and in terms of policy. i don't think it sat well with him how jeb was treated. >> but jon karl, one of the things that i think softened president trump up -- and we talked to the president about this just the day before he was inaugurated -- a very nice note that george w. bush sent to him
after the election. >> absolutely. you and i had been on "good morning america." i had noted that 41 was not going to be attending the inauguration and i recounted the story of him throwing shoes at the television during the campaign when donald trump would come on. and we got a call, we got a call from president-elect trump telling us about this wonderful note that he had received from george h.w. bush, a gracious note, obviously somebody who loved writing notes, writing letters. he was explaining that he wouldn't be able to go for health reasons. he joked that his doctor had said that if he and barbara had tried to come to the inauguration they would be six feet under. then he offered him his support and his best wishes as they began this wonderful journey of being president of the united states, a true classically george bush note. >> that reminds me of another letter that george h.w. bush
after he had criticized dick cheney, very tough criticism of dick cheney, but then he wrote cheney and letter and said, yeah, i did it, but then he made up to him. >> which is character istic of george bush. he made friends with geraldine ferriera in 1980, made friends with michael dukakis and of course bill clinton. >> and of course he wrote that famous letter to bill clinton, left it in the olive offival of. let's listen to that. >> when you arrive back to the white house in the oval office after becoming president, you found in the iconic resolute desk in the oval office a handwritten note from george bush.
would you mind reading part of that note? >> yeah. i wish you great heappiness her. there will be tough times made tougher by criticism you may not think is fair. don't let the critics discourage you or push you off course. you will be our president when you read this note. i wish you well. i wish your family well. your success is our country's success. i'm rooting hard for you. >> how did you feel when you received that letter? >> i thought it was vintage george bush. i thought he meant it, but i also thought he was trying to be a citizen in the highest sense of the word. it was profoundly moving to me personally. >> especially, donna brazile, that last line, your success is our country's success. >> george, we have 50 governors, 435 members in the house, 100 united states senators but we have one president. george h.w. bush knew that and he understood that the role of
the presidency is one of a e unifier and one who tries to bring the country together and loo leaving that note meant a lot to bill clinton. >> they also ended up working together not only in the presiden post-presidency but on issues like nafta and others. >> that made a lot of difference because things got done, you know. that's how things get done. but you know, i'm very pleased that i have a couple of notes from george bush, the famous letter-writer. they're just so wonderfully -- even the note when my mother died was so upbeat and you could just sort of see him smiling as he wrote them. the last one i got from him was last year and he said the bushes are doing fine, i hope your family is too. >> go ahead, martha. >> george, there's all this talk
today about being your authentic self. i'm not sure what that really means, but george h.w. bush was always his authentic self, sometimes a little awkward, sometimes not, but if he wrote you a note like that, he meant it. >> right. >> he meant what he said to bill clinton. it wasn't just part of his duty in passing the presidential to bill clinton. >> terry, so eloquent in those letters and a man of his time. he wrote a letter to his granddaughter saying oh darn. once wrote audrey hepburn after she won an oscar saying you're the meowist of the cats. >> also, president clinton said citizenship and citizenship is a discipline. you have to practice it. kindness is a discipline of character, of the spirit. every day he practiced those
things until he got really good at them. >> it's a really good lesson for everybody else, you know. you can choose to be happy. you can choose to be a fine citizen. then you go out and do >> his granddaughter jenna talked about his darkest days, even as he was declining, he was grateful. >> he was full of optimism and vitality. he loved life. i think that's what kept him going. >> but think about what he had been through, during world war ii he survived and so many didn't. there's often that survivor's guilt and people who make it through something like that they never forget the value of life. he also lost his 3-year-old daughter, robin, which was so
painful to them. >> michael duffy, i remember -- you covered the bush campaign back in 1998 talking about fighting the wimp factor but when you look at his history, extraordina extraordinarily tough man. >> he had a determination and a doggedness that sometimes you couldn't see beneath that partition, he not only played baseball in college but also made the soccer team as a freshman in college. he wanted to be the best in a lot of different fields. the other thing just worth mentioning about him today, since we're doing some appreciations, there's a man who had a keen sense of fun. he was a great practical joker. he loved to do gags. i did a story about how he decided, how he made decisions, he thought this was such a
hysterical idea for a story. he gathered his staff around him, hovering over a crystal ball. had the picture taken and said, this is how i make decisions and sent it to me. it took me two weeks to figure out what to do next. >> cokie, another story you were telling me the other day about barbara and him and a little -- >> so, this is story told by his granddaughter that at one point, her mother doro was given a whooppee cushion and she thought her father would love it. they had dinner and were passing it around the table. timely it ends up with the president. he sits on it and you know everybody laughs and she walks out of the room and gives him a slap and says, grow up, george. >> i talked to a couple of
granddaughters the other day and he had a goofy side. >> certainly. one of his young grand children came into the oval office in the 1991 and took him over to the bathroom where there was an unflushed toilet and said, did you leave this poopoo in the toilet? >> it shows every single side of the man and martha raddatz. >> george, i remember up in kennebunkport, in 2007, when vladimir putin came to visit and george h.w. bush had him stay there for a couple of days and what president bush did, 41, is take him out in his speedboat and do as fast -- we were all up there on the ledge. going by as fast as possible. the president loved scaring the
interpreters. >> another side of him, one night we were at a gala for save the children and he was very kind to come. i was seated next to him. at our table was blythe danner. >> back inside the cathedral right there. president bush -- president trump, first lady melania trump. as the motorcade makes its way toward the cathedral. >> president trump went by blair house to greet the family, also paid his respects at the capitol rotunda.
all the presidents now in place. every living american president with george w. bush on the other side when he arrives. to honor our 41st president. vice presidents in the second row. mark, again, just that picture right there tells you -- tells the story of trying to bring our country together at least for one day. >> you see the continuity of government there. you see our history right there in the front pew. the one person we don't see of course is george w. bush who will eulogize his father.
bush 41 and bush 43, during the memorial service for 9/11 which was held on the 14th of september in 2001 and george w. bush made a very emotional speech and a beautiful, magnificent speech. came back to his pew and his father reached over and he shook his hand and it was an incredibly stirring moment. >> that was the scene right there. of course, after 9/11, george w. bush took american troops into iraq again. his father, back in 1991, had chosen not to go into iraq after driving saddam hussein out of kuwait. terry, both men faced questions about that time and time again. >> and it was partly the lesson that president george w. bush
took from the first gulf war and his advisers dick cheney and others hadn't finished the job. after 9/11 he had to be taken care of. it was partly an echo of his father's decision not to go. >> so difficult, mark, for president george h.w. bush as he was watching his son. >> he was hand off. he didn't want to put unburden on his son by weighing in, by adding his voice. you would concede that the world had changed since he was president. he trusted his son to find the right balance in policy. >> but he also felt strongly and again said this in interview with me about this constitution that he had go to the u.n., he had a resolution and the resolution said get saddam
hussein out of kuwait. he felt to go beyond that was to lie and that was the word he used. i don't want to lie to the congress, lie to the u.n. i did what was i supposed to do. >> two wars, two very different outcome and of course, george w. bush thought the war in iraq would be over quickly. we would invade and be out there. it dogged his presidency. i spent more time over there than in the white house. we talked about it quite a bit. >> let's listen to father and son reflecting on the presidency. >> i remember the first time i went to the oval office as president. i was in awe and after i got there, i had a guest and that was president 41. >> i with us in bathtub at the white house residence and a guy came in and said, get out of
that bathtub your son is in oval office. >> the conversation was something like this, welcome, mr. president. thank you mr. president. that's all we said. >> it was fun walking in seeing your own son being president of the united states. >> and i remember visiting dad in the oval office when he was president and how much reverence he treated the office. i tried to do the same thing. the oval office is a place where you make decisions and welcome dignitaries and welcome some friends. a place that always has to be treated with respect and dignity. >> we see jimmy carter, of course, held the office. i'm thinking of a letter that president wrote to prime minister brian mulroney of canada, who will speak today, it read, like a new day had dawned for our family. one family, 12 years in the white house. >> it's a remarkable story.
george herbert walker bush had been in the presidency for eight years under ronald reagan. a full 20 years in the white house for one family. that is remarkable. >> as we see the motorcade now approaching the national cathedral. it's the highest point in washington. the national cathedral for so many years, the home parish for george h.w. bush. his children went to st. albons. his grandchild baptized there. david muir there at the national cathedral. a time where our secular and spiritual words are coming together and the personal world of george herbert walker bush. >> as you know, it's just a stunning place of worship. the national cathedral here in washington. as we have been watching these images play out in that front row there, the living
presidents, president trump arriving a short time ago as you pointed out, and what the president has done for the bush family despite tension during the campaign. sending one plane down to texas to bring george herbert walker bush back to washington for one final time. of course the obamas are here, they famously said since his death both he and barbara are two points of light that have never dimmed. harkening back to that speech he gave, asking for thousand points of light asking for community service and you can see the obamas sitting there in the front row. the clintons next to the obamas and we have been watching all of these former presidents talk one another. and bill clinton has said in recent days that it's a friendship that he'll consider one of the greatest gifts of his life as we look at the car carrying the body of president
george herbert walker bush to the national cathedral and where all of the living presidents and former first ladies will pay tribute to a man as jimmy and rosalynn carter said who showed remarkable grace in this front of this country. >> the motorcade has now reached the national cathedral. the service will be conducted by dr. levenson. from st. martin's episcopal church in houston, texas. the president's casket will be met by the presiding bishop of
and david, they will be taking their place of honor there at the front. for the bush family. >> they will. and we can see former president george w. bush and i don't think we can overstate what he's about to do, his job is the most difficult on this day. all of the living presidents are here including him, of course, but he has the job of not only as a former president but as a son getting up in front of this cathedral and in front of this nation to share his love for a father and a relationship that was analyzed for many years. when you have a father and son who both serve as president. only in later years after both were done serving their terms in the white house did they truly share a very public love for one another. but you can see the pain on his face through the window of the vehicle, just as we have seen from that first day in
washington. he and laura standing in exto each other as the casket was carried up the stairs of the rotunda and you could read laura's lips, when she said, what a beautiful day in washington. the country is with this family today. >> cokie, only one other president succeeded his father in office, john quincy adams. >> it was a hard time to travel, he couldn't be at his mother's either. he wrote in his dairy, he couldn't man how his father would survive without his mother. >> as we see george w. bush,
ne exiting the car now, he'll make his way in, martha. >> as i look at this and i see president bush and we were talking about the iraq war and looking around, there are about 4,000 members of the military who have put this funeral together. you see the special honor guard the joint chiefs, all of them, in battle in some way or other, but george bush since that war has done so much for veterans, so much for the military. it has consumed him every time i have seen him since he left office. >> the famous rides, the cross-country rides to raise funds for veterans and also to participate. the family, now, gathering.
let us pray with confidence to god, the giver of life, that he will raise him to perfection in the company of the saints. deliver your servant, george, o sovereign lord christ, from all evil, and set him free from every bond. that he may rest with all your saints in the eternal habitations, where, with the father and the holy spirit, you live and reign, one god, for ever and ever. >> amen. let us pray also for all who mourn that they may cast their care on god and know the consolation of his love. almighty god, look with pity upon the sorrow of your servants for whom we pray.
as for me, i know that my redeemer lives and that at the last he will stand upon the earth. after my awaking, he will raise me up, and in my body i shall see god. i myself shall see, and my eyes behold him who is my friend and not a stranger. for none of us has life in himself and none becomes his own master when he dies. for if we have life, we are alive in the lord, and if we die, we die in the lord. so, then, whether we live or die, we are the lord's possession. happy from now on are those who die in the lord. so it is, says the spirit, for they rest from their lay bors.
light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints, through jesus christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the holy spirit, one god, now and for ever. amen. first reading now will be two of the president's granddaughters. lauren bush and ashley walker bush. a reading from the prophet isaiah. arise, shine, for your light
has come and the glory of the lord has risen upon you. for darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn. lift up your eyes and look around, they all gather together, they come to you. your ss shall come from far away and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms. then you shall see and be radiant. your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you. and the wealth of the nations shall come to you. >> violence shall no more be
heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders. you shall call your walls salvation and your gates praise. the sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor you for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night. but the lord will be your everlasting light and your god will be your glory. your sun shall no more go down, or your moon withdraw itself, for the lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. and now, the first eulogy of
this service will come from jon meacham. the president's biographer and longtime friend. he's worked on this for many years. he finished a draft two years ago with a few more revisions last night. the story was almost over, even before it had fully begun. shortly after dawn on saturday, september 2nd, 1944, lieutenant
junior gray george herbert walker bush joined by two crew mates, took off from the uss san jancinto. as they approached the target, the air was heavy and the plane was hit. smoke filled the cockpit. flames raced across the wing. my god, lieutenant bush thought, this thing is going to go down. yet, he kept the plane in its 35-degree dive, dropped his bombs and then roared off out to sea. telling his crewmates to hit the silk. following protocol, lieutenant bush turned the plane so they could bail out. only then, did bush parachute from the cockpit. the wind propelled him backward
and he gashed his head on the tail of the plane as he flew through the sky. he plunged deep into the ocean, bobbed to the surface and flopped on to a tiny raft. his head bleeding. his eyes burning. his mouth and throat raw from saltwater. the future 41st president of the united states, was alone. sensing his men had not made it. he was overcome. he felt the weight of responsibility as a nearly physical burden. and he wept. then, at four minutes shy of noon, a submarine emerged to rescue the downed pilot. george herbert walker bush was
safe. the story, his story, and ours, would go on by god's grace. through the ensuing decades, president bush would frequently ask nearly daily, he asked himself, why me? why was i spared? and in a sense, the rest of his life was a perennial effort to prove himself worthy of his salvation on that distant morning. to him, his life was no longer his own. there were always more missions to undertake, more lives to touch, and more love to give. and what a headlong race he made of it all. he never slowed down.
on the primary campaign trail in new hampshire once, he grabbed the hand of an department store mannequin asking for votes. when he realized his mistake, he said, never know, got to ask. you can hear the voice, can't you? as dana carvey said the key to bush 41st impression is mr. rogers trying to be john wayne. george herbert walker bush was america's last great soldier statesman. a 20th century founding father. he governed with virtues that most closely resembled those of washington and of adams, of t.r. and of fdr, of truman and of
eisenhower. of men who believed in causes larger than themselves. 6'2". handsome. dominant in person. president bush spoke with those big, strong hands, making fists to underscore points. a master of what franklin roosevelt called the science of human relationships. he believed that to whom much is given much is expected. because life gave him so much he gave back again and again and again. he stood in the breach in the cold war against total tarren and unthinking par tpart sane ship and on his watch, dictators
aggression did not stand and doors across america opened to those with disabilities. and in his personal life, he stood in the breach against hea heartbreak and hurt. also offering an outstretched hand, a warm word, a sympathetic tear. if you were down he would rush to lift you up. and if you were soaring, he would rush to savor your success. strong and gracious. comforting and charming. loving and loyal. he was our shield in dangers ours. of course, there was ambition,
too, loads of that. to serve he had to succeed. to preside he had to prevail. politics he once admitted isn't a pure undertaking. not if you want to win it's not. an imperfect man he left us a more perfect union. it must be said that for a keenly intelligent statesman of stirring, almost unparalleled private eloquence, public speaking was not exactly a strong suit. fluency in english president bush once remarked is something that i'm not often accused of. looking ahead to the '88 election, he observed inarguably it's not exaggeration to say that the undecides could go one way or the other.
and late in his presidency, he allowed that we're enjoying sluggish times but we're not enjoying them very much. his tongue may have run amock 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. abraham lincoln's better angels of our nature and george h.w. bush's thousand points of light, are companion verses in america's national hymn.
for lincoln and bush, both called on us to choose the right over the convenient. to hope rather than to fear. and to heed not our worst impulses but our best instincts. in this work he had the most wonderful of allies in barbara pierce bush, his wife of 73 years. he called her barb, the silver fox and when the sis warranted, the enforcer. he was the only boy she ever kissed. her children, mrs. bush liked to say, always wanted to throw up when they heard that. in a letter to barbara during the war, young george herbert walker bush had written, i love you precious with all my heart and to know that you loved me
means my life. how lucky our children will be to have a mother like you. and as they will tell you, they surely were. as vice president, bush once visited a children's leukemia ward, 35 years ago before he and barbara had lost a daughter robin to the disease. a small boy wanted to greet the american vice president. learning that the child was sick with the cancer that had taken robin, bush began to cry. to his diary later that day, the vice president said this, my eyes flooded with tears. and behind me was a bank of television cameras. and i thought, i can't turn
around. i can't dissolve because of personal tragedy in the face of the nurses that give of themselves every day. so, i stood there looking at this little guy. tears running down my cheek. hoping he wouldn't see. but if he did, hoping he'd feel that i loved him. that was the real george h.w. bush. a loving man with a big, vibrant, all-enveloping heart. and so, we ask , and as he did, why him? why was he spared? the workings of prof vens is mysterious. this much is clear, the george
herbert walker bush who survived that fiery fall into the pacific made our lives and the lives of nations freer, better, warmer and nobler. that was his mission. that was his heartbeat. if we listen closely enough, we can hear that heartbeat even now. for its the heartbeat of a lion, a lion who not only led us but who loved us. that's why him. that's why he was spared. you saw the reaction from the bush family there to the
a reading from revelation to st. john. then i saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. and i saw the holy city, the new jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from god, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. and i heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "see, the home of god is among mortals. he will dwell with them, they will be his peoples. and god himself will be with them, he will wipe every tear from their eyes. death will be no more, mourning
and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." then he said to me, "it is done. i am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. to the thirsty i will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. those who conquer will inherit these things and i will be their god and they will be my children." and the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it. for the glory of god is its light, and its lamp is the lamb. the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
were? the summer you left your teenage years behind and turned 20. well, i was working as a laborer in my hometown in northern quebec trying to make enough money to get back into law school. it was a tough job but i was safe and secure. and i had the added benefit of my mother's home cooking every night. on september 2nd, 1944, as we have just heard so eloquently from jon, 20-year-old lieutenant george bush was preparing to attack japanese war installations in the pacific. he was part of a courageous generation of young americans who led the charge against overwhelming odds in the historical and bloody battle for supremacy in the pacific against the colossal military might of imperial japan.
that's what george bush did. the summer he turned 20. many men of different talents and skills have served as president and many more will do so as the decades unfold bringing new strength and glory to these united states of america. and 50, 100 years from now, as historians review the accomplishments and the context of all who have served as president i believe it will be said that in the life of this country, the united states, which is in my judgment, the greatest democratic republic that god has ever placed on the face of this earth. i believe it will be said that no occupant of the oval office was more courageous, more principaled and more honorable
than george herbert walker bush. george bush was a man of high accomplishment. but he also had a delightful sense of humor and was a lot of fun. at his first nato meeting in brussels, as the new american president, he sat opposite me, actually, that day. george was taking copious notes as we speak. we were limited in time. it's very flattering to have the president of the united states take notes as you speak. even someone as modest as me. throw in a few more adjectives here and there to extend the pleasure of the experience. after the prime minister that thatcher and.
others had spoken, it was the turn of the prime minister of iceland. who as president bush continued to write, went on and on and on and on. ending, only when the secretary-general of nato firmly decreed a coffee break. george put down his pen. walked over to me and said, brian, i have just learned the fundamental principle of international affairs. i said, what's that, george? he said the smaller the country the longer the speech. in the second year of the bush presidency, responding to pressures from the reagan and bush administrations, the soviet union imploded. this was in my judgment, the
most political event of the 21st century. a situation that could become extremely menacing to security. challenged by the leadership of president bush. providing the russian people with the opportunity to build a democracy in a country that had been ruled by tyrants and czars for over a thousand years. and then, as the berlin wall collapsed soon thereafter and calls for freedom cascaded across central and eastern europe, leaving dictators and dogma in the trash can of history, no challenge -- no challenge consumed greater importance for western solidarity was the reunification of germany. old fierce in western europe and
unrelenting hostility by the military establishment in the soviet union and the warsaw pact rendered this mission among the most complex and sensitive under taking. this process could have been coprom mized. there's obviously no more knowledgeable of what really happened at this most important juncture than chancellor kohl of germany. in a speech, the chancellor said categorically that this historic initiative could never, ever have succeeded without the brilliant leadership of president bush. much has been written about the
first gulf war. simply put, the coalition of 29 desperate nations assembled under the united nations including for the first time many influential arab countries and led by the united states will rank with the most spectacular and successful international initiatives ever undertaken in modern history, designed to punish an aggressor, defend the cause of freedom and ensure order in a region that had seen too much of the opposite for far too long. this, was president bush's initiative. from beginning to end. president bush was also responsible for the northern american free trade agreement. recently modernized by the new strags. which created the largest free trade area in the world.
also signing into law the american with disabilities act which transformed the lives of millions and millions of americans. forever. president bush's decision to go forward with strong environmental legislation, including the clean air act that resulted in the acid rain accord with canada, is a splend did gift to future generations for americans and canadians to savor the air they breathe and the water they drink and the forests they enjoy and the lakes, rivers and streams they cherish. there's a word for this. it's called leadership. leadership. 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
gentleman. a genuine leader. one who was distinguished, resolute and brave. i don't keep a diary, but occasionally i write private notes after important personal or professional events. one occurred at walker's point in maine. on september 2nd. 2001. we had been spending our traditional labor day weekend with george and barbara. at the end, george and i had a long, private conversation. my notes captured the moment. i told george how i thought his mood had shifted over the last eight years. from a series of frustrations and moments s of dispondsy in 9 to the houston launch of the
presidential library and george w.'s election as governor in november of that year to the delight following jeb's election in 1998. followed by their great pride and pleasure with george w.'s election to the presidency. perhaps most importantly, to the serenity we found today in both barbara and george. they are truly at peace with themselves. joyous in what they and the children have achieved. . gratified by the goodness that god has bestowed upon them all. and genuinely content with the thrill and promise of each passing day. and at that, george, with tears in his eyes as i spoke said, you know, brian, you've got us
pegged just right and the roller-coaster of emotions we've experienced since 1992. come with me. he led me down the porch at walker's point to the side of the house that fronts the ocean and pointed to a small, simple plaque that had been installed just some days earlier. it read, cavu, george said, brian, this stands for ceiling and visibility unlimited. when i was a terrified 18-year-old to 19-year-old pilot in the pacific, those were the words we hoped to hear before takeoff. it meant perfect flying. and that's the why i feel about our life today. cavu.
everything is perfect. barbara and i couldn't have asked for better lives. we're truly walker's point on that cold, september afternoon in maine, i was reminded of the lines, simple and true, that speak to the nature of george bush and to the love of his precious family and surroundings. there are wooden ships, there are sailing ships, there are ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. ca former prime minister of