tv President George H.W. Bush - National Cathedral CSPAN December 9, 2018 10:39am-1:22pm EST
>> you can read more on bloomberg.com and on twitter. >> since that interview on friday, the president tweeted hopefully, mitch mcconnell will ask for a vote on criminal justice reform. it is extremely popular and has drawn bipartisan support. it will help a lot of people, save taxpayer dollars, and keep our communities safe. go for it, mitch. chairng senate judiciary lindsey graham spoke with president trump earlier and tweeted just talked with president trump, he strongly believes criminal justice reform bill must pass now. he also indicated he supports putting criminal justice reform on year-end spending bill which must include more wall funding. i agree with both. >> for the next few hours, events remembering president george h.w. bush beginning on
wednesday, a national day of mourning. here are the remains of the former president entering the washington national cathedral for the state funeral. president trump and former president obama, clinton, carter attended the service. president george w. bush, former senator alan simpson, and former canadian prime minister brian mulroney gave eulogies.
god, the giver of life, that he will raise him to the 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 habitation where with the father and the holy spirit you live and reign, one god forever and ever, amen. >> let us also pray 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 sorrows of your servants for whom we pray. remember them, gracious god in , mercy, nourish them with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up
redeemer lives and he will stand earth.e after my awakening, he will raise me up and in my body i shall see god. i myself shall see and my eyes behold him. he is my friend and not a stranger. none of us live unto himself and none becomes his own master when he dies. four if we have life, we are alive in the lord. if we die, we die in the lord. whether we live or die we are , the lord's possession. from now on, all those who die in the lord. spirit, foror the they rest from their labors.
>> the lord be with you. let us pray. oh god whose mercies cannot be , numbered, accept our prayers on behalf of your servant george. grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy in the fellowship of your saints through jesus christ our lord who lives and reigns with you and the holy spirit.
earth and a thick darkness the people. but the lord will arise upon you and his glory will appear over you. your lightll come to and kings to the brightness of your dawn. lift up your eyes and look around. they all gathered together. your sons 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 longer 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 by the day nor 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 son shall no more go down or your moon with joy itself for the lord will be your everlasting light and your day of mourning shall be ended. the word of the lord. >> the story was almost over
joined by two crewmates took off from the uss to attack a radio tower. as they approached the target , the air was heavy with flat. -- with flack. smoke filled the cockpit, flames raced across the wings. my god, lieutenant bush thought, this thing is going to go down. he kept the plane at its 35 degree dive dropped his bombs , and roared out to sea. telling his crewmates to hit the silk. following protocol lieutenant , bush turned the plane so they could bailout. only then did bush parachute from the cockpit. the wind propelled him backward and he gashed his head on the tail of the plane that he threw
through the sky. -- that he flew through the sky. he crashed into the ocean, and flopped onto 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 that his men had not made it, he was overcome. he felt the weight of responsibility as a nearly physical burden. and he wept. 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 would ask himself why me? , why was i spared? 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 came -- on the primary campaign trail in new
hampshire once, he grabbed the hand of a department store manikin asking for votes. he said, never know, gotta ask. you can hear the voice. said, the key to is mr.41 impersonation rogers trying to be john wayne. [laughter] george herbert walker bush was america's last great shoulder -- last great soldier statement. a 21st century founding father. he governed with virtues that most closely resembled those of andington and adams and tr fdr and of truman and eisenhower. of men who believed in causes
larger than themselves. 6'2" handsome, dominant in , person. 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 to whom much is given, much is expected. because life gave him so much, he gave back again and again. he stood in the breach in the utilitarianismt -- against totalitarianism and the breach against unthinking partisanship, the breach against tyranny and discrimination. on his watch a wall fell in , berlin. a dictator did not stand. doors across america opened to
those with disabilities. in his personal life, he stood in the breach against heart break and hurt. always offering an outstretched hand, a warm word, a sympathetic ear. if you are down he would rush to , lift you up. if you were soaring, he would rush to savor your success. strong and gracious, comforting and charming, loving and loyal, danger'sr shield in hour. there was ambition too. loads of that. serve, he had to succeed.
to preside he had to prevail. , politics, he once admitted was -- admitted is not a pure undertaking, not if you want to win it does not. an imperfect man he left us a , more perfect union. it must be said for a keenly intelligent statesman of stirring, almost unparalleled private eloquence, public speaking was not exactly a strong suit. fluency in english president , is somethingrked i am often not accused of. [laughter] looking ahead to the 19 election, he argued it was no exaggeration to say it decided
to go one way or the other. [laughter] late in his presidency he allowed that, we are enjoying sluggish times but not enjoying them very much. [laughter] his tongue may have run amok at moments. but his heart was steadfast. his life code as he said, was tell the truth, do not 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 and george h w bush's thousands points of light versus inion america's national hymn.
both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, the hope rather than the fear, and to heed not our worst impulses but are best instincts. in his work, he had the most in barbaraf allies pierce bush, his wife of 73 years. barb, the silver fox, and when the situation warranted, the enforcer. he was the only boy she ever kissed. her children always wanted to throw up when they heard that. [laughter] in a letter to barbara during the war, young george h w bush said said i love you with all my heart and to know you love me means my life. how lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.
as they will tell you, they surely were. as vice president, bush once visited a children's leukemia ward in krakow. 35 years before, he and barbara had lost a daughter, robin to the disease. in krakow, a young boy wanted to meet the american vice president. learning the child was sick, 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, i thought i cannot turn around, i cannot dissolve because of personal tragedy in the face of nurses that give of themselves every
day. so i stood there looking at this little guy, tears running down my cheek, hoping he would not see, but if he did hoping he would feel that i loved him. that was the real george h w bush. a loving man with a big, vibrant, all enveloping heart. so we ask as we commit his soul to god, and as he did, why him, why was he spared? the workings of providence are mysterious. but this much is clear. george herbert walker bush who survived that fiery fall into the waters of 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 it is the heartbeat of a lion, a lion who not only led us, but who loved us. that is why him. that is why he was spared.
>> 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 he will dwell with them, they will be his people 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 omega, the beginning and the end. to the thirsty i will give water from the spring of the water of life. those who conquer will inherit these things. i will be their god and they will be my children. the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it for the glory of god is this light and the lamp is the lamb. the nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. its gates will never be shut by
well, i was working as a laborer in my hometown of 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 had the benefit of my mother's home cooking every night. on september 2, 1944 as we have just heard so eloquently from john, 20-year-old lieutenant george bush was preparing to attack japanese in the pacific. he was part of a courageous generation of young americans who led the charge against overwhelming odds in the historic battle of supremacy in the pacific against the colossal military might of imperial japan. that is what george bush did
this 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 strength and glory to these united states of america. 50 or 100 years from now, as historians review the accomplishments and context of all those 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 principled, and more honorable than george herbert walker bush. george bush was a man of high accomplishment.
he also had a delightful sense of humor. he was a lot of fun. at his first nato meeting in brussels, as the new american president, he sat opposite me that day. george was taking copious notes as the heads of governments spoke. we were all limited in time. you know, it is flattering to have the president of the united states take notes on your speech. even someone as modest as me. [laughter] through in a few more adjectives here and there. [laughter] after prime minister thatcher 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 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 is that? he said the smaller the country, , the longer the speech. [laughter] in the second year of the bush presidency, responding to implacable pressures of the reagan and bush administrations, the soviet union imploded. this was an my judgment, the most epochal event, political event of the 21st -- of the 20th
century. it could have been extremely menacing to world security. instead, challenged by the leadership of president bush in the currents of freedom providing the russian people the opportunity to build a democracy in a country that had been ruled by czars and tyrants for over one thousand years. as the berlin wall collapsed soon thereafter, and calls for freedom cascaded across central and eastern europe, leaving dictators in the trashcan of history, no challenge assumed greater importance for weston solidarity than the unification of germany within an unswerving nato. all fears in western europe, unrelenting hostility of the
military establishment in the soviet union and the warsaw pact among the most complex and sensitive ever undertaken. one serious misstep and this entire process could have been compromised perhaps irretrievably. there's obviously no more knowledge of what happened at this most vital juncture of the 20th century than the chancellor of germany. in his speech to a parliamentary he saidon, categorically that this historic initiative of german reunification could never ever have succeeded without the brilliant leadership of president bush. written about the first gulf war. simply put, the coalition of 29 disparate nations assembled at
the united nations and putting for the first time many influential arab countries and led by the united states will rank with the most successful international incidents 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 north american free trade agreement. recently modernized and approved by new administrations. which created the largest and richest free-trade area in the history of the world while also signing into law the americans 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 splendid gift to future generations of americans and canadians to savor in the air they breathe and water they drink. and the forest they enjoy and the lakes, rivers and streams they cherish. there is a word for this, it is called leadership. leadership. now let me tell you, when george bush was president of the united states of america every head of government in the world knew they were dealing with the gentleman, a genuine leader. one that was distinguished
resolute and brave. ,i do not keep a diary, but occasionally i write private notes after important personal or professional events. one occurred at walker's point onkennebunkport, maine september 2, 2001. we had been spending at traditional labor day weekend with george and barbara. towards the end he 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 of this pungency in -- and moments of despond and in -- moments of despondency 1993 to the high enthusiasm i felt at the houston launch of
the presidential library. george w's election as governor that year. to the delight following jeb's election in 1998. followed by their great pride w'spleasure with george election to the presidency. and most important, 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 of god has been bestowed upon them all. the promise of each passing day. at that, george with tears in his eyes, said you know brian, you have us pegged just right. emotionsr coaster of
we have experienced in 1992. come with me. porch at down the walker's point to the side of the house that fronts the ocean and pointed to a small simple plaque that had been unobtrusively installed some days earlier. it read "cavu". george said, this stands for ceiling and visibility unlimited. when i was a terrified 18 to 19-year-old pilot in the pacific, those were the words we hoped to hear before takeoff. it meant perfect flying. that is the way i feel about our life today. cavu, everything is perfect. barbara and i could not have asked for better lies.
-- for better lives. we are truly happy and truly at peace. as i looked over the waters on that cold september afternoon in may, i was reminded of the line that speaks to the true nature of george bush. that speaks to his love of his family. there are wooden ships, there are sailing ships, there are ships that celibacy -- that sale the seat, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.
>> george told me i only had 10 minutes. he was very direct about it. it wasn't even funny. [laughter] i first met my friend, my dear friend, george bush, in 1962, when my father, miller simpson, was a member of the united states senate, just elected. i came back to washington with dad to settle on his new office being vacated by one senator prescott bush, george's father. well, then we met again when my parents left washington and sold their home to a brand-new
congressman from texas named george herbert walker bush. george and barbara, mom and pop did that sale on a handshake. sound familiar? i came to the senate in 1978 and soon after that ronald reagan cornered me and asked me to support him for president. i said that i would, not knowing that my friend george would enter the fray. hearing that i called and i said george, i want to tell you i would love to help, but i have already committed to ronald reagan. george's response? well, i'm sorry about that. i probably should have let you know sooner. and actually a guy doesn't get very many calls from a friend who says they can't support him. sound familiar? of course it does.
because in george bush's life, during all the highs and lows, there was a simple credo. what would we do without family and friends? and when he became vice president, our friendship, our enjoyable friendship was refreshed and the four of us had many, many pleasant times together. my life in washington was rather tumultuous. i went from the a social list to the v. [laughter] and never came back to the a. at one dark time i was feeling , awful low and all of my wounds were self-inflicted. all of them. george called me early one morning, always early in the morning -- [laughter] country music playing in the background. he said, i see the media is
shooting you pretty full of holes. actually, he said it a bit more pungent than that. he said -- why don't we go up to camp david? come on over and we will have a weekend together. at that time, his popularity rating was 93%. mine was .93. [laughter] and so off we went. the media of course all gathered as we headed to marine one. and george said, waved to your pals over there in the media. [laughter] and they didn't wave back. [laughter] so, next morning he's rattling through all the papers and he looks up and says, here is the one i have been looking for. it's a picture of barbara, and, and george, with his arm and
hand on my back. and later we are having a sauna. and i said george, i am not unmindful as to what you are doing. you are propping up your own old wounded duck pal while you are at the top of your game, you reach out to me while i'm tangled in rich controversy. he said -- yup. there were staff members that told me not to do this, but this is about friendship and loyalty. sound familiar? we had an awful lot of fun, too. always a delight to be in the president's box at the kennedy center. off to a play at the national theater with the bushes. outside of the president's box one evening, there was a massive six foot face with an extraordinary glaze.
i hope you know the difference between a vase and a vase. 35 bucks. [laughter] now, george walked up to it and he said al, wait, i think that's a trust can. he said it was a clay that could only have been found during that era. i said no, george. the patina gives me the perception that it was possibly older. perhaps of greek origin. with that particular herbal paste before firing. people gathered around mumbling about these expert observers. finally came by and said -- get out of here. both of you, get back in that box. [laughter] well, we did. [laughter] it was impressive for a while.
and then one night michael crawford was singing the songs of andrew lloyd webber. all four of us was singing as we went back to the white house. don't cry for me argentina ♪ and tidbits from phantom of the opera and other magic of weber. a few days later is getting hammered by the press for some extraordinarily petty bit of trivia. and suddenly he sings out -- ♪ don't cry for me argentina ♪ the press then wrote that he was then finally losing his marbles. [laughter] now, these honored guests right here before us, who have held this noble post know all of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. he was a class act.
from birth to death. he had the strong sinews of mind and body, gained from that extraordinary mother. we compared our mothers as velvet hammers, of course. and certainly most awesome fathers. the history books will and are treating him most fairly while uncovering some other powerful traits. his great competitiveness. his raw courage and self-discipline. recall the andrews air base conclave where congressional participants drafted a remarkable bill that dealt with two-year budgeting, entitlement reform, comprehensive and catastrophic health care, social security solvency, and much more. but it required the critical ingredient called revenue.
translated into the word taxes. translated into the words -- read my lips. [laughter] the group went to george and said look, we can get the packet done but we must need some revenue. he said that what he had set on -- what i have said on that subject put a lot of heat on me. they all said yes but we can get , it done and it will be bipartisan. and george said go for it but it will be a real punch in the gut. warrior foroyal george, took it back to the senate and we won a strong bipartisan vote. he went over to the house for his own party, where they turned on him. surely one of the main factors assuring his return to private life. he often said that when the
really tough choices come it's the country, not me. it's not about democrats or republicans, it's for our country that i fought for. he was a man of such great humility that those who travel the high road of humility in washington, d.c., are not bothered by heavy traffic. [laughter] he had a very serious flaw, known by all close to him. he loved a good joke. the richer, the better. he would throw his head back and give that great laugh. but he never, ever could remember a punchline. [laughter] and i mean never. so the punch line for george herbert walker bush is this, you would have wanted him on your
side. he never lost his sense of humor. humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life. that's what humor is. he never hated anyone. he knew what his mother and my mother always knew, hatred corrodes the container it's carried in. the most decent and honorable person i ever met was my friend george bush. one of nature's noble men. his epitaph, perhaps just a single letter, the l for loyalty. it coursed through his blood. loyalty to his country. loyalty to his family. loyalty to his friends. loyalty to the institutions of government and always, always, always a friend to his friends. none of us were ready for this day.
we mourn his loss from our own lives and what he was to each of us. that is so personal, so intimate, so down inside. it would have been so much easier to celebrate his life with him here. but he is gone, irrevocably gone. and now that we have loosed our grip upon him, we shall always retain his memory in our hearts. god has come now to take him back. we all knew that on one unknown day he would return to his god. and now we give him up. we commend him to your loving hands. thank you for him. god rest his soul.
devotion and though they cannot hear our applause we honor them for ever and keep alive their stories a tribute to their lives and and give them all the glory. beyond the call of duty a full measure of devotion the last full measure of devotion and they gave their life to serve a greater need to be survived and into the [singing]
>> distinguished guests, including our presidents and first ladies, government officials, foreign dignitaries, and friends. my families and our families thank you for being here. i once heard it said of man that the idea is to die young as late as possible. [laughter] at age 85, a favorite pastime of george h.w. bush was firing of -- firing up his boat the fidelity and opening up the engines to fly, joyfully fly across the atlantic with the
secret service boats straining to keep up. at age 90, george h.w. bush parachuted out of an aircraft and landed on the grounds of saint anne's by the sea in kennebunkport, maine. the church where his mom was married and where he worshiped often. mother liked to say that he chose the location just in case the chute didn't open. [laughter] in his 90's, he took great delight when his closest pal, james baker, smuggled a bottle of grey goose vodka into his hospital room. [laughter] apparently it paired well with the steak that baker had delivered from morton's. [laughter] to his very last days, dads life was instructive. as he aged he taught us how to grow with dignity, humor, and kindness. when the good lord finally called, how to meet him with
courage and the joy and promise of what lies ahead. one reason that dad knew how to die young is that he almost did it twice. when he was a teenager, a staph infection nearly took his life. a few years later he was alone in the pacific on a liferaft, praying that his rescuers would find him before the enemy did. god answered those prayers. turns out he had other plans for george h.w. bush. for dads part i think those brushes with death made him cherish the gift of life. he vowed to live every day to the fullest. dad was always busy. a man in constant motion. but never too busy to share his love of life with those around him. he taught us to love the outdoors. he loved watching dogs flush a
ubbie. he loved landing the elusive striper. and once confined to a wheelchair he seemed happiest sitting in his favorite perch on the back porch of walker's point, contemplating the majesty of the atlantic. horizons he saw were bright and hopeful. he was a genuinely optimistic man. that optimism guided his children and made each of us believe that anything was possible. he continually broadened his horizons with daring decisions. he was a patriot. after high school he put college on hold and became a navy fighter pilot as world war ii broke out. like many of his generation, he never talked about his service. until his time as a public figure forced his hand. we learned of the attack, the
mission completed, the chute down. we learned of the death of his crewmates. home he thought about during his entire life. we learned of the rescue. then another audacious decision, he moved his young family from the comforts of the east coast to odessa, texas. he and mom adjusted to their arid surroundings quickly. a tolerant man, he was kind and neighborly to the women with who mom, and i shared a bathroom in our small duplex. even after he learned of their profession, ladies of the night. [laughter] dad could relate to people from all walks of life. he was an empathetic man who valued character over pedigree. and he was no sin it. -- cynic. he looked for the good in each person and he usually found it.
he taught us that public service is noble and necessary. that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family. he strongly believed it was important to give back to the community and the country in which one lived. he recognized that serving others enriched the soul of the giver. to us his was the brightest of a thousand points of light. in victory he shared credit, when he lost he shouldered the blame. he accepted that failure is a part of living a full life, but taught us never to be defined by failure. he showed us how setbacks can strengthen. none of his disappointments could compare with one of life's greatest tragedies, the loss of a young child. jeb and i were too young to remember the pain and agony that
he and mom felt when our three-year-old sister died. we only learned of later that dad, a man of quiet faith, pray ed for her daily. he was sustained by the love of the almighty and the real and enduring love of her mom. dad always believed that one day he would hug his precious robin again. he loved to laugh. especially at himself. he could tease and needle but never out of malice. he placed great value on a good joke. that's why he chose simpson to speak. [laughter] on email he had a circle of friends with whom he shared and received the latest jokes. his grading system for the quality of the joke was classic
george bush. the rare sevens and 8s were considered huge winners. most of them off color. [laughter] he knew how to be a true and loyal friend. he nurtured and honored his many friendships with a generous and soul.g there exist thousands of handwritten notes encourage, sympathizing and thinking friends and acquaintances. he had an enormous capacity to give of himself. many a person would tell you that dad became a mentor and father figure in their life. he listened and consoled, he was their friend. i think of don rhodes, taylor blanton, jim nance, arnold schwarzenegger and perhaps unlikeliest of all, the man who defeated him, bill clinton. my siblings and i refer to the guys in the group as brothers from other mothers. [laughter]
he taught us that a day was not to be wasted. he could play golf at a legendary pace. i always wondered why he insisted on speed golf. he is a good golfer. here is my conclusion. he played fast so that he could move on to the next event, to enjoy the rest of the day and expend his enormous energy. to live at all. he was born with just two settings. full throttle, dead sleep. [laughter] great-grandfather. -- taught us what it means to be a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. he was firm in his principles and supportive as we began to seek our own ways. we tested his patients. -- patience. we tested his patients. -- i know i did. [laughter]
but he always responded with a great gift of unconditional love. last friday when i was told he had minutes to live, i called him. the guy answering the phone said i think he can hear you, but he hasn't said anything for most of the day. i said -- dad i love you and you , have been a wonderful father. the last words he would ever say on earth were i love you too. to us he was close to perfect. but not totally perfect. his short game was lousy. [laughter] he wasn't exactly fred astaire on the dance floor. [laughter] the man couldn't stomach vegetables. [laughter] especially broccoli. [laughter] by the way, he passed these genetic defects along to us. every day of his 73 years of
marriage, he taught us all what it means to be a great husband. he married his sweetheart, adored her, left and cried with -- laughed and cried with her, was dedicated to her totally. in his old age she enjoyed -- dad enjoyed watching police show reruns, the volume on high. [laughter] all the while holding mom's hand. after mom died dad was strong. all he really wanted to do was hold her hand again. he taught me another special lesson. he showed me what it means to be a president that leads with courage and ask with love in his -- acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country. when the history books are written, they will say that george h.w. bush was a great president of the united dates. a diplomat of unmatched skill. a commander in chief of formidable accomplishment. a gentleman who did so with
-- executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor. in his inaugural address the 41st president of the united states said that we cannot hope to only leave our children a bigger car and a bigger bank account. we must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent. a citizen who leaves his home and neighborhood and his town better than he found it. what do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? that we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? or that we stopped to ask that a sick child had gotten better and stayed a moment to trade a word of friendship? well, dad, we will remember you for exactly that and much more. and we are going to miss you. your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. through our tears let us know
♪ [music playing] >> please stand. the holy gospel of our lord, jesus christ, according to matthew. jesus said that you are the light in the world. a city on a hill cannot be hidden. neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before men that they may
see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven. the gospel of the lord. >> bow your heads in prayer, please. almighty god, of all comfort, console us. of all light, strengthen us, of all love, inspire us. to love you and to love those that you send our way. amen. well, please be seated. it is a tremendous honor to follow these speakers, especially someone i admire so much our 43rd president. sir, your father always welcome -- welcomed my visits and never made me feel rushed and always said thank you for coming. never made me feel like i was going on too long.
your mother [laughter] usually said good sermon, too long. i got your email. you are a lot like your mother. [laughter] ladies and gentlemen, children of god, when death comes as it does to us all, life is changed. not ended. the way we live our lives, the decisions that we make, the service that we render matters. they matter to our fellow human beings. to this world that god has given to us. and they matter to god. few people have understood this as well or lived their lives as accordingly as president george herbert walker bush.
you hear what i said? lived it. not earned it or strived to achieve it. it was as natural to him as breathing is to each of us. president bush was a good man, a decent man, a godly man. full of grace, love and the and an absolute necessity to enter the kingdom of god. humility, grounded in the desire to serve his god and all god sent his way. how do i know this? because for nearly a dozen years, my wife, laura, our children and i, we have laughed with him, we have fished with him. president bush brought up riding infidelity. we had that pleasure as well. the secret service was behind us. he was at full throttle. i saw many of them reaching for
what i thought were protective armor. i realized as they follow the president they were actually crossing themselves. [laughter] we have been blessed to share meals, moments of silence and prayer in times of great strength and weakness. never, not once, did eyewitness anything but care and concern for those around him. the job of a pastor, a priest, an imam, a rabbi, with dealing with some of their but called to serve, to call on them to look to god to do the right thing, to serve others, and to love. president bush made my job so easy. a lesson from the hebrew scriptures remind us that god is light.
the president reflected that light his whole life through. he once said he was a man who sees life in terms of missions defined in missions completed. lighte called with the when he reminded america and our citizens of its mission to be points of light with but one aim, to leave our world better than we found it. i have a political cartoon of the 41st president. i keep it in my desk, with caricatured big ears. sitting at his desk, looking at his watch, saying to himself that communism is dead, the wall is down, apartheid is falling mandela is free, the sandinistas , are ousted. germany is reuniting, the cold war is over, i returned my calls and heck, it's not even lunchtime. [laughter] we sometimes forget all that president bush did for us. in large part because he preferred to shine not upon
himself, but to shine to others. several years ago, president bush gave me this plaque. on the back is a note. a good friend gave this to me some years ago, it may be of help to you in some way. it reads, simply -- praise christ at all times. if necessary, use words. it remains on my desk as a reminder that faith means more than words. jesus christ for george bush was at the heart of his faith. but his was a deep and generous faith. a simple faith in the best sense of the word. he knew and lived the greatest commandments of jesus, to love god and your neighbor. the president loved and served not just some, but all that god sent his way.
he lived his own adage that tolerance is a virtue, not a vice. he respected and befriended christians of every denomination, as well as jews, muslims, buddhists and sikhs. his comrades were from every nation and race. yes, he was a republican, but for him political parties were a line in the sand to brush away in times of the greater good of working towards his goal for all of us to be a kinder and gentler nation. the gospel that was just read for us moments ago reminds us that jesus told his followers to be the light of the world. so that the world could turn their hearts towards god and others. let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven. and so was president bush. his life was defined by his faith and his service, worthy of all of those made in god's image. in september of 1990 president
bush spoke to those gathered outside those doors for the dedication of this great cathedral. he pointed inside to that magnificent rose window right there from the outside. he spoke these words -- from where we now stand, the rose went high above the black and -- window high above black and seems formless to some, perhaps, but when we enter we see it backlit by the sun. it dazzles in astonishing splendor and reminds us that without faith we are but stained-glass windows in the dark. the president understood that even in the darkest of nights, things can be transformed if handed over to the redemptive power of the almighty. no one on that first good friday expected easter sunday. but it came. it came because the light that
brought creation into being also brought life from the grave. we call that resurrection. only days ago, i was humbled, along with members of the president's staff, his outstanding and loyal medical team, so many friends. sully who i believe has gotten more press than the president in the last few days. [laughter] loving members of his family. who called in to speak with him throughout the day. as our 43rd president just said, inspired his last words, words of love. sitting with us was someone the president liked to call his little brother. james baker and his wife, susan. as i said, there had been wonderful hugs and kind words throughout the day, kisses throughout the day. towards the end secretary baker
and i were sitting on the sofa next to each other and he whispered to me that that man changed my life. a bit later secretary baker was at the foot of the president's bed. towards the end, jim baker rubbed and stroked the president's feet. for perhaps half an the hour. president smiled at the comfort of his dear friend. here, i witnessed a world leader who was serving a servant who had been our world leader. and what came to mind was jesus. on that last night before his own crucifixion, having said everything there was to say, he wrapped a towel around his waist and without words, he washed his disciples feet. as jesus finished, he said -- i set an example for you.
do as i have done, serve one another. by this the world will know that you are my disciples. if you serve and love one another. at the end, we all melt. we all placed our hands on the president. we set our prayers together. and then we were silent. for a full long measure. as this man, who changed all of our lives, who changed our nation, who changed our world, left this life for the next. it was a beautiful end. it was a beautiful beginning. for a moment, but a moment only, that deer point of light that we know so well as george herbert walker bush dimmed, but it now shines brighter than it ever
before has. now this godly man, this servant, this child of god is in the loving arms of barbara and robin and the welcoming arms of our lord, who embraced him with his divine love. some have said in the last few days that this is the end of an era. but it does not have to be. perhaps it's an invitation to fill the hole that has been left behind. the president so loved his church. he loved the episcopal church. he loved his great nation and you, his friends. he so loved every member of his family. but he was so ready to go to heaven. and heaven was so ready to receive him. because he lived those two great commandments.
if you want to honor him and you call yourself a daughter or son of god, then love god. love your neighbor. there is no greater mission on planet earth. my hunch is heaven, as perfect as it must be, just got a bit kinder and gentler. leaving behind the hole for you and me to fill. how? preach christ at all times. if necessary, use words. mr. president, mission complete. well done, good and faithful servant. welcome to your eternal home.
>> in the assurance of eternal life at baptism, let us proclaim our faith and say that i believe in god, father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and i believe in jesus christ, his only son, our lord, conceived by the power of the holy spirit and born of the virgin mary, suffering under pontius pilate, crucified and died and was buried. he descended to the dead and on the third day he rose again and and is seatedaven at the right hand of the father and will come again to judge the living and the dead. i believe that the holy spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. amen.
>> for our brother, george, let us pray to our lord, jesus christ, who said -- i am resurrection and i am life. lord, you consoled martha and mary in their distress. draw near to us to mourn for george and ride the tears of -- draw the tears of those who weep. >> hear us lord. >> he wept at the grave of your friend lazarus. comfort us in our sorrow. >> hear us lord.
>> he raised the dead to life. give to our brother your eternal life. you promised paradise to the thief who repented. bring our brother the joys of heaven. >> hear us lord. >> our brother was washed in baptism and anointed with the holy spirit. give him fellowship with all your saints. >> hear us lord. >> comfort us in our sorrows at the death of our brother. let our faith be our consolation. and eternal life our hope. >> hear us lord. >> we pray to you for george and for all of those whom we love but see no longer. grant them eternal rest.
>> give arrest to your servant. -- immortal, thee creator and maker of mankind and we are mortal. formed of the earth and to earth shall be returned. you saidd you ordain you are dust and to dust you shall return. all of us go down to the dust and even at the grave we make our song hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah.
acknowledge we humbly beseech you as chief of your own home. lamb of your own flock. of your own redeeming. george into the arms of your mercy and the blessed rest peaceerlasting and the glorious company of the saints and light. amen. peace who the god of brought him from the dead our lord jesus christ the great shepherd of the sheep, to the blood of everlasting covenant. you that which is
>> wednesday afternoon, former president bush's body was flown back to texas. worshiped.regularly here is thursday's service. >> he that believeth in the though he were dead, though shall he live. whoever live if an believeth in me shall never die. ith,ow my redeemer live and he shall stand up on the d of