It was recently revealed that the former president, George H.W Bush, who passed away on Friday, was once worried that no one would show up at his funeral. On Tuesday evening, Jim McGrath, who was Bush’s spokesman for a quarter century, revealed the former president’s surprising fear in a tweet. Along with a photo that showed a large audience in memorial of his late boss, McGrath wrote:
Briefed in 2011 about his funeral and lying in state, the 41st President asked with typical humility, ‘Do you think anyone will come?’
He also added:
Tonight, people are waiting hours to pay their respects.
Bush’s fear proved to be just a fear, as he received a national farewell at Washington National Cathedral yesterday in front of family, friends, previous presidents, and foreign dignitaries. The ceremony saw world envoys together. The former president, Barack Obama along with the former first lady, Michelle Obama, canceled the latter’s book tour to make it to the ceremony and attended along with the Clinton’s and the Carter’s.
His eldest son, and former president, Geroge W. Bush, lead the proceedings and gave a eulogy while standing next to his wife, Laura Bush. This was the first time since Lyndon Johnson’s death in 1973, that a sitting president was not tapped to eulogize the late president. We recall that Bill Clinton did so for Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush did so too for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.
Among the attendees, Prince Charles, Prime Minister John Major, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the King and Queen of Jordan, and former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, were present and set to deliver a eulogy.
Thousands of people have gathered in Washington DC to pay respects to the late president, who has been lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since Monday.
His funeral follows on from three days of mourning which saw prominent figures and ordinary people paying their respects. The somber proceedings are held at the Washington National Cathedral in honor of the late Republican president.
Other eulogists included Alan Simpson, the former senator from Wyoming, Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian prime minister, and presidential historian Jon Meacham.
George H.W. Bush will always be remembered as the man who oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, before losing his elections to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992. Among the guests were also Prince Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lady Lynne Cosgrove and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
On Tuesday, citizens in wheelchairs, soldiers, and a long line of other people wound through a silent Capitol Rotunda to view Bush’s casket and honor the president who legacy included military service and landmark law affirming the rights of the disabled.
Bob Dole, the former senator, steadied himself out of the wheelchair and saluted his old friend one last time. After the national funeral service, Bush’s remains are set to be returned to Houston before burial on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.