Bush, president and patriarch, is home for Texas burial

HOUSTON -- George H.W. Bush, who shaped history as 41st president and patriarch of a family that occupied the White House for a dozen years, is going to his final rest Thursday in Texas.

More than 11,000 people paid their respects to Bush as his casket lay in repose all night at a Houston church where his family worshiped.

Some visitors waited for hours to pay tribute to Bush, who will be buried Thursday after a funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

The country said goodbye to him Wednesday in a national funeral service that offered high praise for the last of the presidents to have fought in World War II -- and a hefty dose of humor about a man once described as a cross between Mister Rogers and John Wayne.

After three days of remembrance in Washington, a plane brought Bush's casket for his funeral's closing ceremonies in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

His final resting place is alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia at age 3.

The Houston funeral will feature music from some of the former president's favorite country music stars.

The Oak Ridge Boys will perform "Amazing Grace" and Reba McEntire will sing "The Lord's Prayer."

Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys said Bush had personally requested the group sing "Amazing Grace" at his funeral.

Allen tells The Tennessean newspaper the band did an impromptu performance for Bush at the White House when Bush was vice president and that began a decades-long friendship.

Allen said the band is honored to keep its promise to Bush to perform at his funeral.

In the service at Washington National Cathedral, three former presidents and President Donald Trump looked on as George W. Bush eulogized his father as "the brightest of a thousand points of light."

The cathedral service was a tribute to a president, a patriarch and a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility.

It was laced with indirect comparisons to Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush's public life and character -- ith plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.

"He was a man of such great humility," said Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming.

Those who travel "the high road of humility in Washington, D.C.," he added pointedly, "are not bothered by heavy traffic."

George W. Bush broke down briefly at the end of his eulogy while invoking the daughter his parents lost in 1953 his mother, who died in April.

He took comfort in knowing "Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again."

It was a family that occupied the White House for a dozen years -- the 41st president defeated after one term, the 43rd serving two. Jeb Bush stepped up to try to extend that run but fell short when Trump won the 2016 Republican primaries.

The elder Bush was "the last great-soldier statesman," historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy, "our shield" in dangerous times.

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