For George Bush, One Last Funeral, as well as also Then a 70-Mile Train Ride
HOUSTON — Seven months ago, hundreds of people filled St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston to say goodbye to Barbara Bush. On Thursday, they were preparing to return to St. Martin’s once more to remember her husband — the 41st president of the United States.
The funeral on Thursday morning for former President George Bush will be one of the final events in what has become an extraordinary moment of national mourning. The ceremony in Houston, held the day after Mr. Bush’s state funeral at Washington National Cathedral, will unfold at a church not far through the home he shared with his wife of 73 years, who died in April at the age of 92.
The Bushes both died at home, surrounded by relatives as well as also close friends as well as also mourned by members of both parties as embodiments of a more genial era of American politics.
After the funeral, scheduled for 10 a.m., Mr. Bush’s coffin was scheduled to travel by train inside the afternoon to College Station, Tex., where the former president was to be buried on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library as well as also Museum at Texas A&M University — next to Mrs. Bush as well as also their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at the age of 3 in 1953.
“You keep hearing people say the idea’s the end of an era, as well as also in some ways of which may be true,” said the couple’s pastor in Houston, the Rev. Russell J. Levenson Jr. “yet in different ways, I think we’re being invited to consider his life as an invitation to continue of which era. I realized, both for Barbara as well as also for George, of which in many ways they were just like everybody else, which can be the way in which they lived their lives, as well as also the idea’s the way in which they came to the end of life.”
Mr. Levenson can be the rector of St. Martin’s, as well as also was with both Mr. as well as also Mrs. Bush as each passed away.
The back-to-back funerals as well as also burials, months apart, signaled the closing of a chapter of Texas history, as the family whose name has become synonymous with the state’s politics marked the passing of its patriarch as well as also matriarch.
Mr. Bush, a World War II aviator through the East Coast, came to Texas inside the summer of 1948 to make a name for himself inside the oil business, driving to the West Texas town of Odessa in a red two-door Studebaker. the idea was a fateful trip of which would certainly, in hindsight, shape Texas politics for decades to come. Mr. Bush would certainly go on to become a local Republican Party leader in Houston, a Texas congressman as well as also the 41st president. In more recent times, he was the father of a Texas governor as well as also future president, George W. Bush, as well as also the grandfather of the state’s land commissioner, George P. Bush.
Seventy years after of which trip inside the Studebaker, Mr. Bush’s funeral train will take him on one last journey through the state on Thursday, This kind of time in a Union Pacific locomotive. The train, named Union Pacific 4141, will travel 70 miles through Magnolia, Navasota as well as also different tiny towns, led by a 4,300-horsepower locomotive painted blue, gray as well as also white in homage to the colors of Air Force One. Members of the Bush family will be on board.
Arranged for a man who had been America’s oldest living ex-president, Mr. Bush’s locomotive procession will give his long-planned memorial services a throwback touch, evoking the presidential funeral trains for Abraham Lincoln in 1865, Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 as well as also Dwight Eisenhower in 1969. The train ride through his Houston funeral to his College Station burial was his idea, organizers said.
The train itself was unveiled in 2005. Mr. as well as also Mrs. Bush toured the idea at an event held at Texas A&M, posing for pictures in which they peeked out of the window of the cab, above the side emblazoned with “4141.” Inside the cab, Union Pacific officials, including Mike Iden, then an engineering executive for the company, explained to Mr. Bush how the train operated.
“the idea was at of which point of which President Bush said, ‘Can I take This kind of for a drive? Can I run the idea?’” Mr. Iden, today retired, recalled in a Union Pacific video. Mr. Bush, he said, climbed into the engineer’s seat as well as also got a brief tutorial.
Then, for about two short miles, he took his funeral train out for a spin.