How Texas Embraced the Bush Family
In November, George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died at the age of 94. He was surrounded by family in his beloved home of Houston. Though he was born in Milton, Massachusetts, Bush and his legacy were perhaps embraced most by his adopted home of Texas.
"He was raised in New England, so he never quite shed some of his New England reserve," Charles Foster, an immigration attorney in Houston who was a friend of the family, told The Washington Post. "He was a good old boy in a way his father couldn't be. He liked the can-do spirit of Texas, its quasi-frontier attitude, the feeling that anything is possible, you can come down here and start all over again."
As The Tribune-Democrat noted, following the funeral, a special funeral train carried the former president's remains through the small towns he frequented in Texas, and directly to the Bush family plot on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station. He was buried next to Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and their daughter Robin Bush, who died of leukemia at age 3.
At the event, the St. Martin's Parish Choir also sang, "This is My Country," which was also performed at his inauguration in 1989. Those that gathered to pay their respects included Texans' defensive end J.J. Watt and Chuck Norris, who played TV's "Walker, Texas Ranger," according to The Tribune-Democrat.
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But, it wasn't just famous Texans who came out to celebrate his life and his work in the state.
"He was a great man from the Greatest Generation, and he served his country well," said Julie Rooksberry, 43, an Austin resident who brought along her three children to pay their respects to Bush, shared with The Washington Post.
"To me, to regular people, he was always one of us," Judy Pierce of Houston, also shared. "You would see him out and he would always talk to you. He did a lot of good things. Some things didn't turn out the way he wanted to, but that happens to all presidents. And he never did put on airs, you know?"
And, as David Jones, chief executive of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, added, "They were Houston's first family. They loved Houston and Houston loved them back. People embraced them wherever they went."
But, most importantly, James Baker, Bush's former secretary of State, said during his funeral as he held back tears, "The world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years."
On his last day, Bush reportedly told his family he was ready to go. According to CNN, Bush spoke his last words to his son, George W. Bush. George W. told him he had been a "wonderful father" and that he loved him. His father simply replied, "I love you, too."