George H.W. Bush’s son and former US president George W. Bush broke down in tears as he lovingly placed his hand on his father’s coffin after delivering an emotional eulogy at his funeral on Wednesday.
Mourners packed into the Washington National Cathedral for the state funeral of the 41st president, with Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton filling the front row alongside their wives.
Among the guests at the final farewell ceremony were world leaders, family and friends, as well as Prince Charles – who attended on behalf of the British royal family.
And while there was laughter throughout as everyone shared their memories of Bush, his son was moved to tears during his eulogy mid-way through, in which he described his dad as a “wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather”.
Holding back tears, former President George W. Bush closes the eulogy for his father, former President George H.W. Bush: “Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever… The best father a son or daughter could have.” https://t.co/5rlRUNfa0P pic.twitter.com/Z4BhpZEt3s
— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2018
Remaining remarkably composed throughout most of his speech, he also described how excited his father would be to be reuniting with his late wife Barbara and their toddler daughter Robin, who died in 1953 aged three after a battle with leukemia.
“We only learned later that dad, a man of quiet faith, prayed for her daily. Dad always believed that one day he would hug his precious Robin again,” he said.
However, he eventually broke down in tears as he said his father’s “decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever”.
“And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mum’s hand again,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bush went on to share his dad’s final words before he passed away, telling the congregation: “When I was told he had minutes to live I called him. The guy who answered 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’ve been a wonderful father’.”
Revealing what his dad replied, Bush junior added: “The last words he’d ever say on earth were ‘I love you too’.”
“To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light,” he added in the eulogy. “He knew that failure is part of living a full life – but he taught us to not be defined by failure.”
And Bush ensured he paid tribute to how much his father taught him about being president too, as he went on: “He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country… They will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States.
Read more: George H. W. Bush dies aged 94
“A diplomat of unmatched skill… A commander in chief of formidable accomplishment.”
Bush’s coffin was draped in the US flag after lying in state over the last week, with mourners taking turns to pay their respects.
And while President Trump has previously clashed with the Bush family, whom he has repeatedly criticised, he received a warm welcome from the younger Bush as he stopped to say hello to the entire front row before taking his seat.
Bush, who died on Friday aged 94, will later be buried at his Texas home alongside his wife, Barbara.