A Nation in Mourning: Remembering George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush died on November 30th, 2018 at the age of 94. His death comes less than eight months after that of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.

President Bush was a skilled bureaucratic and diplomatic player—in his term as president, he helped end four decades of Cold War and the threat of nuclear engagement at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe. The cause of his death was vascular Parkinsonism, a rare form of Parkinson’s disease with symptoms similar to that of Parkinson’s.

His state funeral was held at the Washington National Cathedral and he was honored through stories of wartime, his compassion, and his love of family, friends, and country. Guests at the funeral included his son, former President George W. Bush, former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, and their wives, President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump. Foreign dignitaries in attendance were Prince Charles of England, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and King Abdullah II of Jordan. In all, approximately 3,000 were in attendance at the cathedral.

During the funeral, George W. and Laura Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager read from the Book of Revelation. Neil Bush’s daughters Lauren Bush Lauren and Ashley Walker Bush read Bible verses from Isaiah.

The first eulogist was Jon Meacham, his biographer, who told the story of Bush’s plane being shot down in World War II, calling him “America’s last great soldier-statesman.” George W. Bush delivered a eulogy, honoring his father, with jokes and personal reminiscences. Others that delivered eulogies were former Secretary of State and chief of staff James Baker, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, and former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson.  

Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson Jr. delivered a warm homily, calling him a faithful man who worked for the greater good of the country.

After the service, his casket traveled by train to his final resting place in College Station, Texas. He will be buried on the grounds of the Bush Presidential Library and Museum, alongside his wife Barbara and their daughter Robin.