Funeral For Former First Lady Barbara Bush | NBC News



you you you you you you you you you you you you you you [Laughter] we and st. Martin's Episcopal Church I want to welcome you to this celebration of the life and the service and the faith of Barbara Pierce Bush while the service doesn't begin for a few more minutes at this time I would ask that you please turn off your cell phones a quick reminder no photography no recordings are allowed during this service unless you're expecting an emergency my request would be that you just turn your phone off at this time and also it is the Episcopal tradition that as we prepare for worship that the holy space and the church is quiet and I know we all have great memories we're wanting to share and conversation is we wanting to have but for from now until about the beginning of the service I would just ask if you absolutely need to speak do so in the tone of a whisper we're so delighted you're here and we look forward to sharing this celebration with you the service will begin in just a few moments [Applause] [Applause] you this is an NBC News special report remembering Barbara Bush here's Craig Melvin and a good Saturday to you everyone we are coming on the air to bring you live coverage of the funeral a former first lady barbara Bush she died Tuesday at the age of 92 family friends and dignitaries are gathering right now at st. Martin's Episcopal Church there in Houston among them four former US presidents including of course both Presidents Bush George HW mrs. Bush's husband of some 73 years and their eldest son George W Bush also on hand the presidents who followed the Bush's into office Bill Clinton and Barack Obama joined by their wives former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama current First Lady Melania Trump is also attending as are members of the Ford Nixon Johnson and Kennedy families mrs. Bush was for years quite the formidable figure in American life in politics just a week ago the Bush family announcing that their matriarch her health failing would no longer seek special medical treatment two days later at peace surrounded by family Barbara Pierce Bush passed into history of joy joined today by two NBC news veterans who have known and covered Barbara Bush over the years Tom Brokaw with us here in New York Andrew Mitchell there in Houston also joining us from Washington NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss and we can see here President Obama President Clinton their wives being seated there as is Melania Trump as well all taking their seats inside this episcopal church st. martin's episcopal there in houston the largest episcopal church in this country mr. Brokaw we know a little bit about how mrs. Bush spent her last days her last hours here on but I understand that you know a bit more well in typical Barbara Bohr's fashion she was surrounded the night before she died by her husband George of course and then they're very very close friends Jim Baker and his wife Susan Jim Baker and the president both like vodka martinis so the president said why don't we get a round of vodka martinis and he looked at Barbara and she said I'd like a Manhattan now for those of you who do this from time to time on Manhattan there's a stiffer drink it's several measures of whiskey as well as vermouth and so she got her Manhattan I have a hard time telling this is it's so touching she took a few sips she looked at George and her friends and she said I'm eager to go I mean I can't think of a more graceful and characteristic party than those words her friends that drink at that time she went out on their own terms miss Mitchell there in Houston again this is a family that you have come to know quite well over the years how will you remember how will you remember Barbara Bush with such affection her tart tongue her devotion to family and children her sparkling personality and while a traditional first lady a traditional mother and spouse she said to the end she had no regrets in her memoir that she wrote in in 2015 no regrets that those were always her top priorities her passion for literacy she said that that transversed all of the other social issues because she felt if there were a literate America that women would know what their rights were that men would know and women would know how to get a job how to hold a job she just thought that so many other issues would be solved if people could read and and interestingly that of Chris stemmed from her son Neil's dyslexia as a child so it came out of her role as a mother that she realized how important that was defended it at Wellesley College and elsewhere where it was controversial 19 I was there that day there were so many ways to remember this a really remarkable woman and I think the tribute to her is that not only the other first ladies are there but the forum former presidents which is not traditional for former presidents to attend a first lady's funeral Bill Clinton did for Jacqueline Kennedy but that was a very special personal relationship but they were there because of their fondness for this first lady and for her husband who held such an important role in their lives Michael much has been made this week of a Barbara Bush – the matriarch and we've heard a lot about that that's sharp tongue and her quick wit but but the reality is that Barbara Bush may have had the sharpest political mind in the entire Bush clan right I think because you know here's someone who had a kindly husband George HW Bush whom she loved and adored and fought almost too good for this world but she also thought that there were things that she saw about people that he did not see she was always looking you know around a room to make sure that everyone there was sort of on board and not a threat to her George and the result was she was this iconic figure you know Craig our children our grandchildren will learn about her they will know her name because they'll be asked you know who's the woman in American life who was the wife of an American president and the mother of an American president it was Barbara Bush and you know the other thing you were talking about her sharp tongue always with a sense of humor I knew her a little bit and over the last 20 years not run into her and she'd say with a sense of humor but with that tartness things like you know is it really necessary for you to wear that tie today as we are having this conversation there he is President George Herbert Walker Bush the 41st president of this country being wheeled into the the church there by the 43rd President George HW Bush and before that we saw George w's wife Laura and Jeb Bush of course the former governor of Florida Jeb Bush one of the three eulogists this afternoon we are told that Barbara Bush made most of the plans for the service herself picking out certain scriptures picking out certain hymns in addition to Jeb Bush eulogizing his mother he'll be joined by Jon Meacham Jon Meacham of course the presidential historian who wrote arguably the definitive book on George HW Bush a very close friend of the family and Susan Baker is also going to be eulogizing her dear friend Susan Baker of course Tom of the wife of of James Baker and James Baker in the 80s and 90s the 70s as well one of the biggest names in American politics and and the bakers and the bushes have been friends for a very long time but you know George Bush got Jim Baker into politics Jim Baker lost his first wife he was a registered Democrat that probably philosophically more a Republican didn't know what he was going to do with his life and they were tennis partners and Bush asked him to help in his campaign and Jim caught the bug and it turned out that he was a genius at it he went to Washington as an Assistant Secretary of Commerce very quickly everybody recognized all this skill set so he ran the campaign against Ronald Reagan think about this and then the Reagan team hired him as their chief of staff because they spotted his talent he then was Secretary of the Treasury and to this day he sort of across the lines as the gold standard for Secretary of State he's 87 years old himself and still going strong Andrew one of the things that has struck me over the last few days as we remember Barbara Bush is this this love story that that she and her husband have had for more than seven decades hooking up at a dance back when they were teenagers and she dropped out of college early and they managed to survive that the loss of a child it really is quite remarkable that the obvious love that the two of them have had for each other that love is so profound and so everlasting Bush 41 was at her bedside holding her hand for her final day throughout that day and when she finally passed away he was with her and will always be with her I'm really struck by that and today he is wearing socks too in tribute to her he calls them his books soft tan with books and multi colors in tribute to her literacy crepin advocacy services is getting underway here it's listening just a bit to the sea Martin's parish choir [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] so this is an Episcopal service the Bush family were Episcopalian and st. Martin's Episcopal Church to welcome you to this service of celebration for the life and the service and the faith of Barbara Pierce Bush would you please stand turn to page three and let us sing with strength our opening hymn praise to the Lord [Applause] Tom you were about to share a thought there a few moments ago I was about to say that this is a traditional Episcopal service reflecting the northeastern deep roots of the Bush family their son Jim however the Catholic reflecting the church of his wife Barbara Bush was a longtime member of the Episcopal Church and when they left the Northeast and moved to Texas and then to California there was not a kind of natural culture for her but she fit right in given the completely different kind of childhood in which she'd been raised it's also worth remembering if this is a tribute to the greatest generation these are the last people representing that generation her husband was at war got married at 19 he went back to war there very few of those left Bob Dole it's not going well countenance upon them and give them peace through Jesus Christ our Lord amen again the traditional ceremony the processional now to the altar and it's worth remembering Craig that she designed the service within the constraints of the traditional Episcopal Church there was not much that got by her when she was not just funding from general but working at the White House on the campaign trail she was on top of everything to a greater degree that most people realized and we're told this is a service that she had been working on for some time we're also told that her husband President George HW Bush is fairly adamant about the service not lasting too long on this Saturday and the casket chin and the life saith the Lord he that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though this body be destroyed it shall I see God whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold and not as a stranger for none of us liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself for if we live we live unto the Lord and if we die we die unto the Lord or whether we live therefore or die we are the Lord's blessed are the dead who die in the Lord even so saith the spirit for they rest from their labors the Lord be with you remaining standing let us pray O God whose mercies cannot be numbered accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant Barbara Pierce Bush and grant Barbara an entrance into the land of light and joy in the Fellowship of thy Saints through Jesus Christ thy son our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit one God now and forever amen please be seated for the lessons a reading from Ecclesiastes for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven a time to be born and a time to die a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted a time to kill and a time to heal a time to break down and a time to build up a time to weep and a time to laugh a time to mourn and a time to dance a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing a time to seek and a time to lose a time to keep and a time to throw away a time to tear and a time to sow a time to keep silence and a time to speak a time to love and a time to hate a time for war and a time for peace what gain have the workers from their toil I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with he has made everything suitable for its time moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end I know that there's nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live moreover it is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in their toil I know that whatever God does endures forever nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it God has done this so that all should stand in awe before him the word of the Lord [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] and now we are going to have a series of readings by Barbara Bush's grandchildren one of them quite familiar to us here at NBC News a friend and a colleague Barbara Jenna Bush Hager it's just proverbs 31 the heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of game she does him good and not harm all the days of her life she seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands she is like the merch the ships of the merchants she brings her food from far away she rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant girls she considers a field and buys it with the fruits of her hands she plants a vineyard she Gerdes herself with strength and makes her arms strong she perceives that her merchandise is profitable her lamp does not go out at night she puts her hands to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle she opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy [Applause] she is not afraid for her household would it snows for all her household are clothed in crimson she makes herself coverings her clothing is fine linen and purple her husband is known in the city gates taking a seat among the elders of the land she makes linen garments and sells them she supplies the merchant with sashes strength and dignity her clothing and she laughs at the time to come she opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue she looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness her children rise up and call her happy her husband too and he praises her many women have done excellently but you surpass them all charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised give her a share in the food of her hands and let her works prays in the city gates the last reader then George HW Bush's daughter Dorothy who stood by Assad as the former president welcomed well-wishers yesterday in the surprise to a lot of folks he sat in that wheelchair and shook hand after hand for a number of hours at the church his complete stranger stopped to pay their respects the first of three eulogists approaching the podium now Jon Meacham presidential historian the National Book Festival on my way to give a talk about a book I'd written when a woman ran up to me which doesn't happen enough believe me and she said oh my god it's you and I said well yes you know it's kind of hard to argue with she said I just admire you so much I just I love your books you've meant a lot to me and really to my family would you wait right here I want to go by your new book and have you signed it and I said yes ma'am and I stood there and I let us confess in this ecclesiastical setting I was feeling kind of full of myself when she came back with John Grisham's latest novel it gets worse that had been on a Saturday in September and I was on my way to Maine to see the 41st president of the United States and mrs. Bush and I was feeling rather sorry for myself and I told this story and mrs. Bush looked across the table looked me in the eye and I was thinking here comes some motherly sympathy that's called telegraphing here it comes and she said well how do you think poor John Grisham would feel you know he's a very handsome man so I was oh for two but it was a fair and funny point as were so many of the points that Barbara Pierce Bush made in her long and consequential life known as Barbara as bar as mom as mother as Gani as the Silver Fox and as the enforcer she was candid and comforting steadfast and straightforward honest and loving Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation as the fiancee and then the wife of a world war two naval aviator she waited and prayed in the watches of the night during the war she worked at a nuts and bolts Factory in Port Chester New York and she joined George HW Bush in the great adventure of post-war Texas moving to distant Odessa in 1948 70 summers ago from rye mrs. Bush's mother would send boxes of soap and detergent to her daughter on the grounds that they probably didn't have that kind of thing in West Texas mrs. Bush raised a family endured the loss of a daughter to leukemia and kept everything and everyone together and as the wife of one president and the mother of another she holds a distinction that belongs to only one other American in the long history of the Republic Abigail Adams who was present at the creation from the White House to Camp David to Walker's point in hours of war and a piece of tumult and of calm the bush is governed in a spirit of Congeniality of civility and of grace instinctively generous Barbara and George Bush put country above party the common good above political gain and service to others above the settling of scores the couple had met at a Christmas dance in Greenwich in 1941 not quite three weeks after Pearl Harbor she was wearing a red and green holiday dress he endeavored to get introduced she was 16 he was 17 he was the only boy she ever kissed her children she remarked always wanted to throw up when they heard that and a letter to Barbara during the war George HW Bush wrote I love you precious with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life how often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday how lucky our children will be to have a mother like you and if you ask them they'll be the first to say they were I once asked President Bush if he had known even in the beginning how resilient mrs. Bush would be no he said tears coming to his eyes and he went on she's the rock of the family the leader of the family I kind of float above it all but she's always there always there for me and for the kids just amazing debutante from ride willing to make our own way have adventures wasn't always easy for her but never a word of complaint just love and strength opinions too of course lots of those she was strength itself and if her tongue were sometimes sharp she was as honest with herself as she was with all of us when she once unwisely described a female political opponent of her husband's as a word that rhymed with rich she reported that her family had begun calling her the poet laureate and she loved the story of how when her eldest son the 43rd President of the United States took up painting his instructor asked him if he'd ever used the color Humber no 43 replied but he did remember that from his mother's cooking brings down the house she would say approvingly mother and son needle each other to the end in her final days while the 43rd President was visiting mrs. Bush asked one of her doctors if she'd like to know why George W had turned out the way he had and then she announced a smoked and drank while I was pregnant she was a point of light in 1989 when many Americans lived in ignorance about hiv/aids mrs. Bush went to a home for infected infants and hugged the children there as well as an adult male patient the images sent a powerful message one of compassion of love and of acceptance she believed literacy a fundamental civil and human right and gave the cause her all at a televised event commemorating the bicentennial of the Constitution mrs. Bush met a man named JT pace the 63 year old son of a former sharecropper mr. pace who had only recently become literate was scheduled to read the Constitution's preamble allowed backstage he was nervous mrs. Bush asked if it would help if they read it together on the broadcast mr. pace agreed soon the two of them stood on stage reading in unison as mr. pace grew comfortable mrs. Bush lowered her voice and lowered it again and then again until at last JT pace was reading entirely on his own he wept and he read supported by Barbara Bush who stood to his side now silent her work was done when his voice spoke of the unending search for a more perfect union JT pace had found his voice not least because Barbara Bush had lent him her heart just last summer on a sunny day on the Bush's porch in Maine talk turned to World War two and that terrible Saturday September sack 1944 when lieutenant junior grade George Herbert Walker Bush was shot down on a bombing raid over chichi Jima two of his crewmates didn't make it becoming casualties of war lieutenant Bush parachuted out of the bomber plunged into the sea came up to the surface flopped onto a life raft and waited scared and retching had young Bush been captured by the Japanese he would have been held captive on an island that was home to horrific war crimes including cannibalism Barr he'd say in later years I could have been an hors d'oeuvre in truth that had been the closest of calls George mrs. Bush said in Maine last July in their great old age lost in reminiscence you must have been saved for a reason I know there had to be a reason President Bush sat silently for the briefest of moments then raised that big left hand and pointed his finger across the table at his wife you he said hoarsely you were the reason a reading from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians so we do not lose heart even though our outer nature is wasting away our inner nature is being renewed day by day for this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen for what can be seen as temporary but what cannot be seen as eternal for we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed we have a building from God a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens from this tent we groan longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling if indeed when we have taken it off we will not be found naked for while we are still in this tent we groan under our burden because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed so that is what is mortal may be swallowed up by life he who has prepared us for this very thing is God who has given us the spirit as a guarantee so we are always confident even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord for we walk by faith not my sight yes we do have confidence and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord so whether we are at home or away we make it our aim to please him the word of the Lord would you please stand and together let us sing on page 11 the verses from Amazing Grace according to John Jesus said everything that the father gives me will come to me and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me and this is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me but raise it up on the last day this is indeed the will of my father that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day the gospel of the Lord [Applause] [Applause] it's hard to think about life without that force of nature that our very special friend was Barbara Bush she was smart strong fun and feisty even sometimes making the headlines she regretted the world saw that and like we did they admired and loved her for it the world saw a remarkable and selfless companion to her beloved husband George it was extraordinary how she managed their rambunctious household in 29 different homes in 17 cities at the same time she fully participated in his amazing career including too many political campaigns to count starting from the time he was chairman of the Harris County Republican Party to becoming president of the United States once back in Houston they continued their dedication to volunteerism and exhausting rounds of good works rather than bolon their many moves Barbara just laughed and said one thing I can say about George he may not be able to keep a job but he's certainly not boring the world saw a compassionate but strict mother who inspired her children with tender love and firm lessons and when needed the fear of God when we saw her and Jorge together with their five children with their 17 grandchildren and seven great grants we knew they represented the very best as we watch their brood wisecrack with one another or work together on a volunteer program or campaign we thought how wonderful it would be if more families could be so cohesive Barbara the tough but loving enforcer was the secret sauce of this extraordinary family the world respects Barbara Bush's deep passion and great effectiveness in equipping those who cannot read with the skill to do so we all celebrate her vision and tenacious dedication to literacy of course the world has seen Barbara's many public contributions but what the world may not have seen its what an amazing caring and beautiful friend that Barr was to so many of us when Jim and I first arrived in Washington in 1975 I was overwhelmed trying to manage our newly blended family of seven children and an intimidating environment fortunately Barr took me under her wing she encouraged me she offered suggestions and she invited us to lunch almost every Sunday lunch those hamburger lunches that always ended with an incredible dessert included famous personality as well as many unknowns whom they loved and this really helped us become part of the Washington world when we returned to Washington in 1981 George was vice president and Jim was White House chief of staff Barr encouraged me to use Jim's position in the Reagan administration to promote the causes that I cared about this really pushed me out of my comfort zone but I followed her wise lead she supported my efforts to help the homeless by holding meetings in the vice president's house what a blessing this meant that many came who otherwise would have not given our group the time of day she also hosted controversial homeless advocates so we could help people understand about the plight of those who live on the street even though that was not a popular position in the administration Barr taught us volumes about who our neighbors are and how to love them because of their own tragic loss of daughter Robin Barbara knew how to comfort those who were suffering my Jim was among them as she helped him during his first wife's losing battle with cancer Barbara's motivation to help others was never about herself but about giving love and support to those in need her friendship didn't stop with people she knew Barbara Bush was penpals with people she had never met she correspondent for several years with the young girl who named her heifer after Barbara the child sent frequent updates on the bovine Barbara Bush which competed in the Houston Rodeo and livestock show one year and finished in eighth place I was sorry for my little friend Barbara said later but was slightly relieved as I am not sure I could have stood the headlines Barbara Bush wins the fat Stock Show [Applause] about friendship bar said the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people your family your friends and co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way she was the gold standard of what it meant to be a friend because she was motivated by the desire to show God's love to each and every one of his children that she met CS Lewis wants to find friendship as the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others bars beauty was evident in every day of her life saying goodbye to our special friend is painful but it's a great comfort in knowing that we will see this good and faithful servant again one day thank you dear Lord for bringing Barbara Pierce Bush this vibrantly beautiful human being into the world and especially for bringing her friendship into our lives amen Susan Garrett Baker they're talking about Barbara Bush the friend talking about our faith talking about how she put that faith into action as well describing her dear friend Barbara Bush is the secret sauce of this extraordinary family the bushes and the bakers are very very close friends and she talked about when she first got to water now Barbara reached out to her it was not easy for Susan to move there twice when Jim had those high positions and they have stayed in touch almost every day it was George Bush who got Jim Baker into politics here's Jeff as I stand here today to share a few words about my mom I feel her looming presence behind me and I know exactly what she's thinking right now Jeb keep it short don't drag this out people have already heard enough remarks already and most of all don't get weepy remember I've spent a deck of decades laughing and living a life with these people and that is true Barbara Bush filled our lives with laughter and joy and in the case of her family she was our teacher and role model on how to live a life of purpose and meaning on behalf of our family we want to thank the thousands and thousands of expressions of condolence and love for our precious mother we want to thank moms caregivers for their compassionate care in the last months of her life I want to thank Neil and Maria for their next-door family love of our parents and thank John and Susan for their eloquent words Meechum you might have been a little long but it was beautiful we want to thank Russ and Laura for their friendship and pastoral care of our parents and we want to thank all that are gathered here to celebrate the life of Barbara Bush now it is appropriate to express gratitude because we learned to do that at a very early age you see our mom was our first and most important teacher sit up look people in the eye please say please and thank you do your homework quit whining and stop complaining eat your broccoli yes dad she said that the little things we learn became habits and they led to bigger things like be kind always tell the truth never disparage anyone serve others treat everyone as you would want to be treated and love your God with your heart and soul what a blessing to have a teacher like that 24/7 now to be clear her students were perfect that's an understatement mom got a sewer difficult times with consistent take it to the bank unconditional but tough love she called her style a benevolent dictatorship but honestly it wasn't always benevolent when our children got a little older they would spend more time visiting their gampy and Gani all it would take would be one one week and when they came home all of a sudden they were pitching in around the house they didn't fight as much and they're actually nice to be with I attribute this to the unbridled fear of the Gani lecture and the habit-forming effects of better behavior taking hold even in her 90s mom could strike fear into her grandchildren nephews nieces and her children if someone didn't behave there were no safe spaces or microaggressions allowed with Barbara Pierce Bush [Laughter] but in the end every grandchild knew their Gani loved them we learned a lot more from our mom and our Gani we learned not to take ourselves too seriously we learned that humor is a joy that should be shared some of my greatest memories are participating in our family dinners with mom when he mom would get into it most of the time with george w as you might imagine and having us all laughing to tears we learned to strive to be genuine and authentic by the best role model in the world her authentic plastic pearls were not calling her hair by the way she was beautiful till the day she died her hugging of an hiv/aids patient at a time when her own mother wouldn't do it her standing by her man with a little rhyming poetry in the 1984 election in a thousand other ways Barbara Pierce Bush was real and that's why people admired her and loved her so finally our family has had a front-row seat for the most amazing love story through a multitude of moves from New Haven to Odessa to Ventura to Bakersfield to Compton to Midland to Houston to DC to New York to DC to Beijing to DC to Houston to DC back to Houston and Kennebunkport their love was a constant in our lives my dad is a phenomenal letter writer and he would write mom on their wedding anniversaries which total an amazing 73 years here's one of them written on January 6 1994 will you marry me oops I forgot we did that 49 years ago I was very happy on that day in 1945 but I'm even happier today you have given me joy that few men know you have made our boys into men by balling them out and then right away by loving them you've helped darl be the sweetest greatest daughter in the whole wide world I've climbed the perhaps the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband mum used to tell me now George don't walk ahead little did she know I was only trying to keep up keep up with Barbara Pierce from Rye New York I love you the last time my mom went into the hospital I think dad got sick on purpose so that he could be with her that's my theory at least because literally a day later he showed up with an illness he came into her room and when she was sleeping and held her hand his hair was standing straight up he had on the mass to improve his breathing he was wearing a hospital gown in other words he looked like hell mom opened her eyes and said my god George you are devastatingly handsome every nurse doctor staffer had to run to the hallway because they all started crying I hope you can see why we think our mom and our dad our teachers and models for our entire family and for many others finally the last time I was with her I asked her about dying was she ready to go was she said without missing a beat she said Jeb I believe in Jesus and he is my Savior I don't want to leave your dad but I know I'll be in a beautiful place mom we look forward to being with you and Robin and all of God's children we love you right your head to bow your heads in prayer for just a moment Almighty God the source of all comfort be close to us in our grief the source of all gifts give us grateful hearts and the source of new Iife may we celebrate Barbara's new life with you this I pray in Christ's name Amen okay so I begin with an apology I realized this is a historic moment and I messed up a minute ago it's good for a priest to apologize from time to time I announced to him a little too early thank you for going along with him I have to tell you we we planned this service carefully about three weeks ago Barbara said to me and I'm this isn't in my remarks Russ I don't know if I want to sing amazing grace everybody sings that and I said well barn you know everybody knows that and then I messed it up so it's like bar got the last laugh on me on that one so thanks again despite this distinguished gathering today I have to tell you that I think there are only two who can fill this place the way it's filled today the first of those is Jesus Christ the second of those is Barbara Bush so we are grateful for your gathering here today the word offering came to mind and then I heard Barbara say don't even think about it Danny's garden given by friends and loved ones of Barbara Pierce Bush is a lovely spot to rest and reflect near downtown Kennebunkport and there you'll find on a sculpted bench a wide brim Sun Hat the kind Barbara wore in her garden and an open copy facedown of her favorite book Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen used one of her characters in that book to utter a wonderful truth I declare there is no enjoyment like reading how much sooner one tires of anything than of a book reading literacy for all was as you know Barbara Bush's great passion every great book has a good beginning but also a wonderful end and so the life story of Barbara Bush is best described as a consummate good read we gather today in this holy space that has been the worshipping community of President George HW Bush and first lady barbara Bush for more than 50 years it is an humble encouraged to speak as her pastor her friend her priest and her confidante but what an interesting thing to be a confidante to a woman who has no secrets what you saw was what you got what was in here came out here the author of our lesson in Proverbs muses on the gifts of a loving wife and mother a godly woman all of which Barbara had she believed in and practiced the principles of honesty tolerance decency courage and strength and perhaps above all humility she lived according to the mantra of the Bush family for many years don't get caught up in the big me one day we were walking together on the beach in Kennebunkport Barbara was washing off her own shoes and a fellow came up to her and said hey you look a lot like Barbara Bush and without missing a beat Barbara just said yes I hear that a lot she was a friend the people of every political persuasion and race and religion her generosity of spirit did not draw lines that kept others out hers was a life of circles that sought to bring others in here in Houston we saw her at major galas behind home plate at the Astros games praying here in the pews catching up with a neighbor while pushing her own buggy through Walgreens and her humor we've heard so much hundred stories we could tell one day after sharing prayers in communion with the President and bar my wife Laura leaned over to kiss the President on the cheek at which point BB one of her beloved dogs nipped my wife on the calf this is a badge of honor by the way apologies came but the next morning on our doorstep was a beautiful orchid with a handwritten note dear Laura I'm so sorry about the bite you just look good enough to eat oh my word we could talk endlessly about how great this woman is but we are reminded in the lesson from Ecclesiastes that there comes a time for everything even the end of a great story the least of Barbara's virtues I think was patience if you're sharing a meal or waiting on her favorite drink bourbon and water for the record I paused to say with all the talking about drinking and all the language from the pulpit we've done a great deal of evangelism for my church today thank you and I mean that sincerely if things were slowing up Barbara would say why the holdup part I like to see things move along and I think that's why we're here today I think Barbara was becoming impatient she was tired of waiting on the next chapter so well she welcomed it on April 17th but perhaps that will help all of us who are left behind Jesus was Barbara's pathway to God she honored and believed that others found God in their own way but for her being a Christian mattered we were talking one day a few years ago and she kind of paused and looked me in the eye and she said I am a Christian I do believe and then she said I want to be confirmed and and then she said do I have to take a class and I said take one bar you could teach one so in May of 2015 she and some family gathered in our chapel as she confirmed her faith in Christ not something she wore on her shoulder just something very personal and very real she simply confirmed what we believed what we read in the lesson from second Corinthians that we live not by what we see but by our faith and those things that we don't see so as Paul wrote even on days like today we don't lose heart yes Barbara's help decline but as we just heard though our outward nature is wasting away our inner nature is being renewed every day for what is mortal paul writes by the grace and mercy of God is swallowed up by life we find Barbara's Jesus in the gospel lesson Jesus who says all all who come to me will be welcomed her Jesus offers the hope that life here when it comes to its natural clothes has changed not ended some books have no true ending some offer an epilogue a hint to imagine what rests beyond the closing chapter can we imagine this day a reunion with her parents with your parents sir and with your dear Robin together again my guess is she's already hunted down Jane Austen and has said well how did things turn out with mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet or knowing Barbara as we all do she may be telling Jane how things should have turned out in the meantime until each of our time comes she would want us to carry on to live as she lived fully and deeply to laugh and laugh often to love all that God sends our way than to serve one another the common good and especially the purposes of God so leave here today not to grieve but to rejoice as we as we leave we will sing by Barbara's choice joyful joyful we adore thee Barbara would want us to celebrate her great next chapter she has been raised to new life for in this story you never turn the page and see the two words the end Barbara Bush's story has just begun again and the best is yet to come as she lives in that holy city of God amen [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] it is the tradition in the Episcopal Church that we stand to affirm the things that we believe so in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to life eternal invites you to turn to the top of page six and together let us reaffirm the faith that we share with our dear Barbara Bush by saying the Creed I believe in God the Father Almighty maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Ghost born of the Virgin Mary suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified dead and buried he descended into hell the third day he rose again from the dead he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead I believe in the Holy Ghost the Holy Catholic Church the communion of saints the forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting amen let us pray together in the words that Jesus taught us saying our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever the Lord Almighty God who has knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy son Christ our Lord grant we beseech thee to thy whole church in Paradise and on earth thy light and thy peace grant that all who have been baptized into Christ death and resurrection may die to sin and rise to newness of life and that through the grave and gate of death we may pass with him to our joyful resurrection grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage and who walk as yet by faith that thy Holy Spirit may lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days grant to thy faithful people pardon in peace that we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve thee with a quiet mind grant to all who mourn a short confidence in thy fatherly care that casting all their grief on thee they may know the consolation of thy love give courage and faith to those who are bereaved that they may have strength to meet the days ahead in the comfort of a reasonable and holy hope in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love help us we pray in the midst of things we cannot understand to believe and trust in the communion of saints the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection to life everlasting grant that increasing and knowledge and love of the bárbara may go from strength to strength in the life of perfect service and I heavenly kingdom grant us with all who had died in the hope of the Resurrection to have our consummation and bliss and thy eternal and everlasting glory and with all thy Saints to receive the crown of life which thou dost promise to all who share in the victory of thy Son Jesus Christ who liveth and reigneth with thee in the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever please be seated and when she shall die take her and cut her out in little stars and she will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with the night and pay no worship to the garish Sun our service continues with the commendation in the middle of page 8 give rest of Christ to your servant with your Saints where sorrow and pain are no more neither sighing but life everlasting you only are immortal the creator and maker of mankind and we are mortal formed of the earth and to earth shall we return or so you did ordain when you created me saying you are dust and to dust you shall return all of us go down to the dust yet even at the grave we make our song alleluia alleluia alleluia give rest and cries to your service with your saints into your hands o merciful Savior we commend your servant Barbara acknowledge we humbly beseech you a sheep of your own fold a lamb of your own flock a sinner of your own redeeming receive our into the arms of your mercy into the Blessed rest of everlasting peace and into the glorious company of the Saints in light amen we are about to receive a blessing from the bishop of the great Episcopal Diocese of the state of Texas but before that blessing and then I'll offer a dismissal and then by by direction of Barbara Bush we will leave as we sing joyful joyful we adore thee as the family and the clergy depart during the singing of that hymn at the conclusion of it him I would ask that everyone else please be seated and please not leave until you're directed to do so by the ushers Bishop unto God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you the Lord bless you and keep you the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace and may the blessing of God Almighty the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost be amongst you and remain with you always let us go forth in the name of Christ [Applause] a fitting and moving tribute of Barbara Pierce Bush here at st. Martin's Episcopal as we see that casket leave the church there her grandsons are the pallbearers we were told that her granddaughters are among the issues there mr. Brokaw your thoughts on what we've seen and heard over the last hour and 20 minutes were sent I think this is a great gift to the country right now such a compulsive time and which were so divided in so many ways and the opening scenes were this is a family that put country beyond party it was a family of grace was a family of wealth and privilege and yet it was also known in politics and in personal lives for its compassion and modesty Barbara was known for humor that got a laugh but it it didn't wound people values that were universal and the faith that we saw here today transcended individual face everyone could look to their own heart and get something from this service and be reminded that this nation of immigrants the rich and the poor can come together when times call on and we've watched the family here received from the church their Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush's namesake granddaughter there as well leaving the church and before that of course her late husband President George HW Bush Andrew Mitchell has been watching all of this transpire here is well Andrew your thoughts well I think jeb Bush's eulogy to his mother and talking about her lessons his teacher how she said keep it short and Bob of all don't get weepy they almost succeeded in that the faith the religious passion of this woman who was confirmed at her request in May of 2015 according to the rector her close connection to the church and you see the family the family beginning to come out as well as she's going to be transported by a hearse and driven to College Station for her final resting place next to their daughter Robin but as the as the rector said she is going to be reunited with Robin it was three years old and died of leukemia with her parents the Pierces with Prescott Bush and Dorothy Bush George Herbert Walker Bush as parents and she said he said with her favorite literary characters with Jane Austen perhaps she will be asking you know how did it turn out for mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Melania Trump we see there it is traditional frankly for city presidents not to attend the funerals of former First Lady's these former presidents did I think certainly because of affection for both Bush 41 Bush 43 and of course for Barbara Bush so it was a special tribute we know President Trump is in mar-a-lago and said he was going to be watching that he did not want to impose the additional security on this occasion and on these parishioners these congregants but certainly there is the undertone of course at the 2016 campaign and the very nasty campaign against Jeb Bush which the Donald Trump raised the issue of Barbara Bush campaigning for Jeb and I think to Tom's point Craig the kindness and the inclusiveness and the gala terian nature of Barbara Bush's lifelong message and message of public service it's really in contrast to a lot of what we see in the divisive politics in America today so it's an important lesson this is a great teaching moment the White House putting on a statement a few days ago about President Trump not being in attendance and part of that statement read to avoid disruptions due to added security and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service President Trump will not attend and to underscore interest point Tom's point earlier this is not not unusual President Obama was not at Nancy Reagan's Betty Ford's funeral George W Bush didn't attend Lady Bird Johnson's funeral either mr. Beschloss here is a woman who was by many accounts more popular than her husband for much of his presidency what was it about Barbara Bush Michael Beschloss that endeared her to so many people people saw her and they thought that she was real and also for anyone who wanted to know about George HW Bush you just look at Barbara Bush at his side many people said you know she was the best witness to George HW Bush's character just taking one look at the way that you know she she helped to lead that family you know Craig watching that beautiful service and watching that large Bush family it's a remarkably close-knit intact family especially for a family in politics especially for an American family in the – in the year 2018 and I kept on thinking about the fact that George HW Bush was once asked what are you most proud of was that your politics was at your diplomacy maybe your time of the CIA and he said it was none of that what I'm proudest of is the fact that our children still want to come home and be with us and a lot of that he's that is the credit really goes to Barbara one other thing if I could come in on Craig and that is you know looking at Barbara Bush in history a lot of things were said today very true but you know if you asked her for instance about as I have and others have you know what role did you have for instance in the diplomacy with the Soviet Union or with the Americans with Disabilities Act she'd always say I had nothing to do with it credit all goes to George Bush as decades go on I'd like to make a prediction today we will find out more and more from her Diaries from her letters other records that will open in the bush library and College Station Texas where she will be buried this afternoon I predict that more and more we will see her as a first lady who was not only someone who had this enormous positive impact on her own family but a big impact on the history not only of her husband's presidency but her son's as well Mitchell you were there outside the the church and again as we wait for this motorcade to begin its procession to Texas A&M University about 90 miles away their daughter their three-year-old daughter who died of leukemia what do we know about how the death of Robin affected Barbara Bush what do we know about how that death affected the two of them that that was a seminal event in their lives that daughter was adored and she is still part of their lives they speak of her as being part of the family they certainly did Doro of course then became their only surviving daughter but Robin was as much a part of their collective family memory as any of their living children and I think more so if possible in these final years where Barbara Bush was in failing health and really connected an even deeper way of possible with her faith you heard what her director said her minister but it was so clear to those around in these final months and weeks as her health failed her I think it was very comforting to her she really believed that she was rejoining Robin I I know that others of her friends Sarah Baker impotent Baker in particular who has gone through health issues herself and who has lost her first husband and was consoled by Barbara Bush as she recollected today when they first moved in 1975 to Washington was also deeply religious is a deeply religious person and those connections are just quietly observed but so supportive and empowering for Barbara Bush and for her family and you could see it today I was also so struck by just like the connections you talked about the family Doro Bush throughout that service just gently rubbing her father's back as Bush 41 grieving the loss of his wife of 41 years and Jeb having told people that he didn't know how he would get through it and that his mom had said you know don't get too weepy you know just the remarkable marriage of 73 years that is celebrated as well today just think for all of these former presidents and first families and congregants to be here friends yeah it's a really powerful message yeah they're also by the way two former Prime Minister's here with their spouses John Major and and Brian Mulroney and they were very close allies during Desert Storm I was gonna save em ready to get back to the loss of Robin I remember her friends that I have who knew the bush as well gone to school with him and so on they all said the same thing first of all the child was so beautiful and it came at a time when it was the last of the children obviously and everybody was concentrated on Robin and then suddenly she was gone and in that family they'd never had that kind of an emotional setback up at that point the president was home for the war it was okay thanks for going at the right direction and then they had this terrible trauma of losing a child and a child that apparently won the hearts of everyone but again they didn't dwell on it we we knew through their friends how wounding it was but they didn't play that card it was typical of that family to take their brief and live it with it within the family the number of reports over the past few days suffering surfacing but revealing that it was Barbara Bush who was like an oak in the wind during that that trying time for the Bush family there was something that did not come up today mr. Brokaw and you and I talked about this a bit before the broadcast some of the darker days that Barbara Bush had in the 70s and how she liked millions of other Americans suffered with depression she did and actually one of my colleagues Mark cousinís was on the campaign trail with her and found himself in the back seat of the car with her they're moving from one place to another and she opened her heart to him saying that it had been a difficult time for but typically she took it on and pour the reason for that was by then she became the matron she was white haired she was stout and her husband George you know was athletic and young and his hair was dark and she said people kept coming up to her and saying you must be so proud of your son when they were talking about her husband and at one point she even acknowledged that she at one point ported was the idea of suicide hard to believe but typically she fought her way back from all that and I think that too is a lesson she was she didn't go hide somewhere she took it on and became as we all know the beacon in the family one of the stories I love about the two of them they used to uh they've got a burger away the more it didn't get up they would have coffee in bed and then they'd watch all the talkers and they watched Imus in the morning when he was so popular and the things that were going on and they they were both shocked by what they were hearing and absolutely amused by it as well I'm saying does he have to use that kind of language after all Intermezzo we are watching the casket here and again the pallbearers are the grandsons of George HW and Barbara Bush and there is the 41st president they're being pushed by his son in the 43rd there are so many dimensions to these virtuals of wife everlasting of celebrating a life lived well while they were here bringing together of the elements in American life the highest offices in the land down to and including I'm sure the people who have been on their staff and their homes for a long long time and like everyone else for all the wealth and privilege the bushes are an immigrant family their family came from other places here and they were had good fortune her family reached all the way back to the Mayflower for example but she didn't kind of parade that around and I saw them with her staff a lot and they could not have been more completely at ease with them it was like family for them so I always thought it was a great lesson for people who were to the manor born about how you conduct yourself to be very hard on the president as Andrea noted earlier George HW Bush that if you look closely you can get a glimpse of those socks those colorful socks we're told he is wearing socks that are adorned with books as a tribute to his wife of course literacy her great cause as we watch the family here proceed to their vehicles and again this is uh this is a motorcade that is going to make its way about 90 miles to Texas A&M University and that of course is home of the the George Bush Presidential Library we're told that the burial site itself for mrs. Bush's is going to be a few hundred yards north east of the museum itself it's surrounded by this iron fence white stone columns a bronze presidential seal is laid into the stone walk there miss Mitchell Europe your vantage point I'm standing or sitting to keep out of the line of your camera just as the honor guard and you see the the Texas police state police local police all at attention and it's remarkable for 38 years they have been protectees of the Secret Service starting when he became vice president and of course that protection is for a lifetime and so all of the members of that detail many many secret service members men and women have come here to be part of this farewell and they are completely devoted there were some members of the Secret Service who said that they had never been talked to by a first lady and inquired you know how are you doing as kindly and as familiarly and affectionately as they had by Barbara Bush as tom was just mentioning they were really well well in involved and integrated into their family into the staff the campaign staff they were so well-liked and that's not always the case with first families but there was no putting anyone off at a distance with the bushes I think that's another reason why you see so many people turned out today from former White House staff members and campaign members it's really pretty remarkable also this assemblage of four former presidents of course two are in the family the immediate family but that relationship between the Clintons and the bushes it's so remarkable because when you read the Bush Diaries as conveyed brilliantly in John Meacham's book the definitive biography George Bush was so devastated in 1992 and so disparaging of Bill Clinton and it was a pretty mean campaign back in those days he called him a bozo at one point and that was a big shock that the Vice President the United States would call the Democratic candidate competitor a bozo that was considered very off-putting think of it now compared to today's language of course this was all pre Twitter and we didn't have instant comments barrage 'men since we do andr I'm just gonna say that this is unusual for this kind of a ceremony before first lady we haven't seen it for a while the other one of course was Nancy Reagan who had her own majestic service in California and what was kept kind of under the covers is the rivalry between the two of them more on the part of mrs. Reagan she really wanted to be LeBron Dom which she was in the White House and President Bush in his last book complained about the treatment of Barbara he'd finally felt free enough I think to do it both the President Reagan and Nancy were gone and he spoke out about he didn't think that that his wife Barbara was treated very well by Nancy Reagan Nancy Reagan was an extraordinary person obviously as a political consultant to her husband as well but also having a sense of what she wanted her White House to be and there was not much room for Barbara Bush and all of that their styles could not have been more different it could not have been more different but I don't think it was Barbara Borgia well I think whoever was gonna be the vice president's wife was not gonna have the spotlight in the White House as long as Nancy Reagan was there and had served her husband well so but here we are with two ladies Craig and Tom to your point remarkably Nancy Reagan did not invite Barbara Bush to come upstairs for the traditional post-election tour of the living quarters for the incoming first lady until January 11 think about it we always see these visits within a week or two of the election in November she was not upstairs and they were not invited upstairs socially for all of those small gatherings a lot with the California kitchen cabinet they were just not on the social radar accepted official functions and so Bob Bush was really not treated very kindly by Nancy Reagan who had so many strengths and we admire her for so many other qualities but there was certainly a lot of rivalry there and it was it was notable that Bush 41 mentioned it in his book finally Michael Beschloss says as we look at these pictures from the early eighties of the the bushes and the Reagan's and Tom and Andrea have both alluded to this in our politics or undeniably different than they were back then on so many levels and not just the civility or lack thereof the Republican Party itself Michael Beschloss this is a party that his is seen quite the transformation during the the political career if you will of Barbara Bush that's for sure I mean this is she sort of represents the movement of the Republican Party when she campaigned for George Bush 1964 for the Senate from Texas the Republican Party was still a largely northeastern moderate if not even in some places liberal party and she was sort of an avatar of that Barbara Bush from Ryan New York who had been for Planned Parenthood and was socially pretty moderate so you go all the way through those really 52 years all the way up until the moment that she campaigns for Jeb Bush in 2016 a parter that party that's gone much more to the right much more outwardly religious much more southern and western and in a way the defeat of Jeb Bush in the spring of 2016 by Donald Trump shows how far it had moved motorcade there making its way past these saluting officers and again being followed by of course of some members of staff and also this this massive family the the bushes the bushes are big bunch five children 17 grandchildren seven great-grandchildren that of course does not include all the the cousins and the aunts and uncles there are a lot of bushes in Houston then of course the airport there in Houston bears the name of Bush 41 but again this is a motorcade that is going to make its way about 90 miles going to travel about 90 miles to Texas A&M University in College Station and that is where we find our Joe fryer Joe hey there Craig yeah so where it's gonna take about an hour and a half or so depending on the speed of the motorcade to get here we're along George Bush Drive here in front of Texas A&M and you can see that some families have come out here early setting up lawn chairs alongside the motorcade route we spoke with the aguirre family here they say Barbara Bush was their first first lady she's the first lady they grew up watching so it was important to take some time this afternoon and bring their children here or eight nine years old now the motorcade will come through here on George Bush Drive go about another mile then turn onto Barbara Bush Drive where the library is located and then they will end up at the burial site which is located on the grounds of the Library and Museum there there's going to be a brief private burial away from the cameras taking place at that site Barbara Bush will be buried in the same location as their daughter Robin who died of leukemia when she was just three years old so Barbara Bush will rest there for eternity with her daughter Robin Craig and Robin of course reburied at College Station after that library was established back in 1997 we just got some thoughts in from Melania Trump here Melania Trump of course was receipted there in the front row at the service tweeting out just a few moments ago what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who lived for God family and country mr. Brokaw your final thoughts my final thoughts are playing right off that is that I do hope that there will be a kind of enduring lesson in all of this that we don't have to now by sundown tonight revert to what we've been going through which is all-out war across all the party lines by the way on all the social lies as well in America it's been kind of exhausting and I would hope that the lessons of this is that there's a better way in America and we are where we are because of the values that we saw were reflected in that church today not just by the Bush family that's a place of faith and all the others who came to pay tribute to her it's time for us to take a deep breath and remember who we are and remember the sensibility of somebody like Barbara Bush who called him as she saw him and was always there and had an enormous heart a tough political player I heard on a number of occasions to be really tough and people who she thought were not stepping up enough for her husband cluding close friends but at the end of the day what we saw here today was a family of great grace and compassion and public service to the values that got us to where we are and I hope we can continue that 92 years old and she told the reporter a number of years ago that the three things that were most important to her friendship faith and family and Andrea Mitchell what a fitting tribute applause those three themes highlighted repeatedly over the course of that service of doing of course that the 92 years of her life as well 92 years of a life so well lived seventy-three years of a spectacular loving marriage a point of life Jon Meacham said she was a point of light and the fact is as others said today she was real she was authentic that's why people loved her and I just think in our political times now it's a it's a wonderful moment to think about the values and the character that she brought to her family and to all of us in the larger nation as well great Andrea thank you our thanks to mr. Beschloss and there's always special thanks to my friend and mentor Tom Brokaw here Tom thanks for your thoughts and insights as well Barbara Bush's passing closes a chapter for the Bush family and for the country that she devoted herself to for so long we've heard a lot about Barbara Bush today but as we close this Saturday afternoon we want to let you hear from the woman herself talking about her life her role as first lady and this Bush family matriarch and of course about the love of her life her husband of 73 plus years George Herbert Walker Bush with Tom Brokaw Andrea Mitchell and all of us and NBC News I'm Craig Melvin here in New York and here now is Barbara Bush in her own words I've always felt I was the world's luckiest woman nobody ever had a greater more precious family nobody ever had a better husband I think George Bush and I are as good friends as close as any two people I know you know we were married at 19 and 20 and we really sort of see the world through the same eyes she was the mother that went to the little league games raised two kids balled them out I chose to bring up my children I mean I had that choice and I know it was a luxury both George and Barbara Bush campaigned hard during the week I was gone a lot she was the one that comforted our daughter when she was dying she was the one that that's kind of been there after she died it was a terrible time in our life I really sort of fell apart sort of hard for me to talk about but he just put his arms around me and did not let me step away and I loved him even more after that I've shared George all of my married life with lots of people when george brushes in the rough people knocked me down to get to him and I understand that but I must say it is not ego building I'm glad he looks young and I wish the heck if I did to bar here where gin here I really love him and he's made my life so happy and he shared with me and I don't feel I'm quote just a political wife her soon she'll be the first lady of all [Applause] I have climbed the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband when you're the president's wife you don't have to make any decisions I mean look at me I don't threaten anyone I've got a nice white hair and little fat face and I like people and it's easy I don't agree with him on everything and he and I know what those things are I want you to care what he thinks he's the president I'm not I want to welcome you all to the White House and I might say with some little husbandly pride the silver fox is doing one heck of a job for education for Barbara Bush I campaign my way and since I'm so old and so mean so tough nobody dares tell me not to I too agree that character and integrity are very important I want to thank my entire family with a special emphasis on a woman named Barbara mother and I've got a great relationship I'm crazy about him I'm the oldest son I mean everybody wants to talk about my mother and I can understand why because she's down to earth and loving she speaks her mind and she's not fake thank you for all you're doing for [Applause] sometimes I'm a little too blunt I get that from my mother my favorite senior citizen the love of my father's life has been Barbara Bush she was a great first lady and she earned and won the respect of a lot of American people because they saw what she has down her loving mother caring individual trying her hardest to do something about literacy and setting an example with no-bull about it I've built my life around the world's greatest man and the world's greatest children at the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal you will regret time not spent with a husband a child a friend or a parent you've got two choices in life you can like what you do or you can dislike what you do I've chosen to like what I do and I think I'm the luckiest woman in the world you you

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