Barbara Bush Remembered as Tough, Loving Matriarch

Her son and former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, is among three people who eulogized Mrs. He called Bush "a point of light", describing how she hugged HIV-positive children and an adult at a time when the country was reeling from the AIDS epidemic.

Barbara died Tuesday surrounded by her loved ones.

Historian Jon Meacham bestowed the title on Barbara Bush while speaking to former presidents, ambassadors and hundreds of other mourners inside the nation's largest Episcopal church during her funeral Saturday.

Seated near the front of the church, in the same pew, were two other former presidents - Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump.

About 1,500 persons are anticipated on the non-public service Saturday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.

REUTERS/Richard CarsonAttendees arrive at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for funeral services for former first lady Barbara Bush, in Houston, Texas, U.S., April 21, 2018. The invitation-only service was also attended by former ambassadors, members of Congress, sports stars and Houston business owners.

Hannie, who grew up under Jim Crow laws in Alabama, served in the White House for 46 years, starting with former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

He said he felt privileged that he had a "front row" seat to the incredible love story shared by his mother and father, former President George H.W. Bush, who laughed as longtime friends and family recalled his wife's wicked sense of humor during the almost two-hour service. Barbara Bush was pen pals with people she had never met.

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Other presidents also have not attended the funerals of former first ladies. A message sent by the White House earlier this week said he would not attend "to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service". The White House had said he meant to stay away to avoid a hassle and respect the family.

President Donald Trump isn't attending the service but released a statement saying his "thoughts and prayers" are "with the entire Bush family".

Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also attended the funeral. She and her husband, George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, were married for 73 years.

Today is a sad day.

Once when he was about to give a talk based on one of his books, a woman came up to him and told him, "I just admire you so much ... I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that can not hold a candle to being Barbara's husband". Many were seen embracing in the church before the service.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, the former secretary of state, attended the funeral. His granddaughters are providing readings during the service and his grandsons are serving as pallbearers.

An burial has been advised to follow along at the President George H.W. Bush Library at Texas A&M College. The motorcade carrying her body will traverse both George Bush Drive and Barbara Bush Drive on its way to the burial site.

  • Adam Floyd