Former US President George HW Bush laid to rest

The 41st president was given a home state farewell after a week of national remembrance followed his death on Friday 30 November.

Some laid coins along the tracks so that the No 4141 train could crush them into souvenirs.

Others crowded so close for a view that police helicopters overhead had to warn them back.

Students hoisted a banner simply reading “thank you”.

The scenes followed a funeral service at the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Houston church, where Mr Bush and his family had regularly worshipped.

Reverend Russell Levenson Jr said the Mr Bush and his wife would often give up their seats on days when the church was particularly crowded.

Thursday’s ceremony had a distinctly Texan flavour, in contrast to the state funeral that took place at Washington Catherdral on Wednesday.

In place of most federal dignitaries were top Houston athletes including the NFL Texans’ defensive player JJ Watt, and the actor Chuck Norris who played the lead role in Walker, Texas Ranger.

The choir in Houston sang This Is My Country which was also sung at Mr Bush’s presidential inauguration in 1989.

There were also renditions of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and Onward Christian Soldiers, along with performances from some of Mr Bush’s favourite country musicians.

The Oak Ridge Boys recalled playing for him for decades, sometimes at the White House, and joked that Mr Bush “fancied himself to be a good bass singer. He was not”.

They then sang Amazing Grace, and Reba McEntire offered a musical version of The Lord’s Prayer.

Former Secretary of State James Baker, a confidant for the late president for decades, choked back tears at times as he praised Mr Bush as a “beautiful human being” with the “courage of a warrior”.

He added: “But when the time came for prudence, he maintained the greater courage of a peacemaker.”

Mr Baker also offered Mr Bush as a contrast to today’s divisive politics, saying that his “wish for a kinder, gentler nation was not a cynical political slogan. It came honest and unguarded from his soul.

“The world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years.”

Grandson George P Bush, the only member of the political dynasty still holding elected office, said of his grandfather: “He left a simple, yet profound legacy to his children, to his grandchildren and to his country: service.”

After the funeral a motorcade carried the late president’s remains down a closed road from the church to the train station.

Mr Bush’s body was later loaded on to a special train fitted with clear sides so people could catch a glimpse of the casket as it rumbled by.

The train travelled roughly 70 miles to the family plot on the grounds of Mr Bush’s presidential library at Texas A&M University.

Mr Bush’s final resting place is alongside his wife Barbara and their daughter Robin Bush, who they lost to leukaemia aged three.

Doug Allen, 55, from Pinehurst, Texas, left eight coins on the tracks before the train passed.

He said: “It’s something we’ll always keep.”

Andy Gordon, 38, took his six-year-old daughter Addison out of school so she and her three-year-old sister, Ashtyn, could see the train pass.

He said: “Hopefully, my children will remember the significance and the meaning of today.”

The train arrived in the city of College Station in the late afternoon with a military band playing “Hail To The Chief” and then Texas A&M’s “Aggie War Hymn”.

Roughly 2,100 cadets in their tan dress uniforms lined Barbara Bush Drive up to the George HW Bush library’s front doors.

The US Navy conducted a 21-strike fighter flyover as a salute to the Second World War Navy pilot, which was followed by a 21-gun cannon salute on the ground.

Former US President George W Bush read the main eulogy to his father at his state funeral on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania were joined by the Obamas and Clintons on the front pew.

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