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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
State Funeral of George H.W. Bush in Houston. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired December 6, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REV. DR. RUSSELL LEVENSON JR, ST. MARTIN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: On behalf of the family and St. Martin's Episcopal Church, I welcome you to this service in celebration of the life and faith of our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
If you would please turn in your bulletins to page six, let us sing together with strength, "O, Beautiful for Spacious Skies."
[11:05:14] LEVENSON: Please be seated.
We have one anthem that we are going to play, and this was one of the anthems that was offered on the day of the 41st president's inauguration. This is "My Country."
LEVENSON: With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our brother George Herbert Walker Bush for burial. Let us pray with confidence to God, the giver of life, that he will raise him to the perfection in the company of the saints. Deliver your servant George, oh, sovereign Lord Christ from all evil, and set him free from every bond that he may rest with all your saints in the eternal habitations where with the father and the Holy Spirit you live and rein. One God forever and ever, amen.
Let us also pray for all who mourn they may cast their care on God and know the consolation of his love. Almighty God, look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom we pray. Remember them, Lord, in mercy. Nourish them with patience. Comfort them with a sense of your goodness. Lift up your countenance upon them and give them peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[11:10:14] Please stand.
He that believeth in me though he were dead, though shall he live, and who so believeth 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 that shall I see God, 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. If we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, even so sayeth the spirit, for they rest from their labors.
Let us sing together our national anthem.
[11:16:08} LEVENSON: The Lord be with you.
CROWD: Thanks be to God.
LEVENSON: Remain standing. Let us pray. Oh, God whose mercies cannot be numbered except our prayers on behalf of thy servant, George Herbert Walker Bush, and grant George an entrance into the land of light and joy and the fellowship of thy saints, Jesus Christ, thy son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Please be seated for the lessons.
MARSHALL BUSH, GRANDAUGHTER OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: A reading from Lamentations. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore, I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him. To the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. For the Lord will not cast off forever but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to abundance of his steadfast love. For he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. The word of the Lord.
CROWD: Thanks be to God.
BARBARA PIERCE BUSH, GRANDDAUGHTER OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Today's appointed Psalm is Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his namesake.
UNIDENTIFIED GRANDDAUGHTER OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will feel no evil. They rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
ELIZABETH OWEN ANDREWS, GRANDAUGHTER OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Thouest preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Thou a99est my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FRIEND OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: My friends, we're here today in the House of the Lord to say good-bye to a man of great faith and great integrity. A truly beautiful human being. And to honor his noble character, his life of service, and the sweet memories he leaves for his friends, his family, and for our grateful nation. For more than 60 years, George Herbert Walker Bush has been my friend,
and he's been my role model. Today, as we entrust his soul to Heaven, his name to history, and his memory to our hearts, I must begin with an apology.
[11:20:19] Jeffe, I'm about to do something you always hated. And that your mother always told you not to do. Brag about yourself.
I will do this because it must be done. And because, as a lawyer, I see that thing beloved by all lawyers, a loophole.
Now, don't brag about yourself, you once wrote. Let others point out your virtues, your good points. Well, today, Mr. President, I am that other.
With the special privilege and joy of sharing your good points.
As we have heard and, as we know, George Bush was a charter member of the greatest generation. As we gather here to salute him, his incredible service to our nation and the world are already etched in the marble of time.
After becoming the youngest naval aviator, he served in increasingly responsible positions on behalf of his country, congressman, ambassador to China, and to the United Nations, director of the CIA and vice president. Then, as history will faithfully record, he became one of our nation's finest presidents. And beyond any doubt, our nation's very best one-term president. For millions and millions across the globe, the world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years.
He was not considered a skilled speaker. But his deeds were quite eloquent. And he demonstrated their eloquence by carving them into the hard granite of history. They expressed his moral character, and they reflected his decency, his boundless kindness and consideration of others, his determination always to do the right thing and always to do that to the very best of his ability. They testify to a life nobly lived. He possessed the classic virtues of our civilization and of his faith. The same virtues that express what is really best about this country. The same ideals were known to and shared by our founding fathers.
George Bush was temperate in thought and in word and in deed. He considered his choices and then he chose wisely. The Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, less than one year into his presidency. It was a remarkable triumph for American foreign policy. As joyous East and West Germans danced on the remains of that hated wall, George Bush could have joined them metaphorically and claimed victory for the west, for America. And frankly, for himself. But he did not. He knew better. He understood that humility toward and not humiliation of a fallen adversary was the very best path to peace and reconciliation. And so he was able to unify Germany as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Notwithstanding the initial reservations of France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. Thus, the Cold War ended. Not with a bang but with the sound of a Hallier (ph) rattling through a pulley over the Kremlin on a cool night in December 1991 as the flag of the Soviet Union was lowered for the very last time.
Need we ask about George Bush's courage during World War II, he risked his life in defense of something greater than himself. Decades later, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and began to brutalize Kuwaitis, George Bush never wavered. This will not stand, he said, and he got the rest of the world to join him in reversing that aggression.
[11:25:16] Yes, he had the courage of a warrior. But when the time came for prudence, he always maintained the greater courage of a peacemaker. He ended the wars in Central America. He signed two nuclear arms reduction treaties. And he brought Israel and all of its Arab neighbors together face-to-face for the first time to talk peace.
His deeds for his fellow man always spoke for him. Give someone else a hand, he would say. And he did. When a friend is hurting, show that you care, he would say. And he did. Be kind to people, he would say. And he was.
To the parents of a young son who lost -- of a young son lost to cancer, he wrote, "I hope you will live the rest of your lives with only happy memories of that wonderful son who is now safely tucked in God's loving arms around him."
His wish for a kinder, gentler nation was not a cynical political slogan. It came honest and unguarded from his soul.
After they left the White House, George and Barbara Bush continued to display their compassion for others. Their dedication to the Points of Light, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, and countless other charities, is a model for all former first families' past, present, and future.
To these virtues we can add one more source of his character, his family. As a friend once put it, George Bush believed that family is a source of both personal strength and the values one needs to face life. And of course, history has shown that few families have accomplished as much as his has. Barbara wrote the book on how to be a great first lady. His legacy lives on with his children, who have contributed so very much to making our nation great. And who knows what the future will bring for his grandchildren and their children.
I have always been proud that George Bush used to describe our relationship as one of big brother and little brother. He used to say that one of the things he liked best about me was that I would always tell him what I thought, even when I knew he didn't want to hear it. Then we would have a spirited discussion about that issue. But he had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over.
He would look at me and said, Baker, if you're so smart, why am I president and you're not?
He was a leader. And he knew it.
My hope is that in remembering the life of George Herbert Walker Bush and in honoring his accomplishments, we will see that we are really praising what is best about our nation. The nation he dearly loved and whose values he embodied.
There's more to say than time permits, and anyway, when measured against the eloquence of George Bush's character and life, our words are very inadequate. And so I conclude these remarks with his words. Written some years ago to his old tennis buddy. "We have known each other a long time," he wrote to me. "We have shared joy and sadness. And time has indeed gone swiftly by. Now it races on even faster."
And that makes me treasure even more this line of William Butler Yates about where man's glory begins and ends, namely with friends. "My glory is I have you as such a friend." To which I reply, on behalf of his friends here today, across America, and throughout the world, we rejoice, Mr. President, that you are safely tucked in now, and through the ages, with God's loving arms around you. Because our glory, George, was to have had you as our president and as such a friend.