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Celebrating George H.W. Bush Memorial Service

Friends and family gathered at Washington National Cathedral under tight security for a funeral service honoring late former President George H.W. Bush. Friends and family gathered at Washington National Cathedral under tight security for a funeral service honoring late former President George H.W. Bush. |  Photo: ABC News

Created: December 05, 2018 12:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Friends and family gathered at Washington National Cathedral under tight security for a funeral service honoring late former President George H.W. Bush. The funeral service caps three days of remembrance of the 41st President. Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.

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The somber ceremony had moments of humor, as presidential historian Jon Meacham was the first speaker on Wednesday and said that on the primary campaign trail in New Hampshire once, Bush grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin while asking for votes. Meacham says when Bush realized his mistake he said, "Never know. Gotta ask."
    
Meacham recounted how comedian Dana Carvey once said that the key to doing a perfect impersonation of the 41st president was "Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne."
    
Looking ahead to the 1988 election, Bush once said: "It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or the other."
    
And Meacham said that late in his presidency, Bush's tongue ran amok when he said: "We are enjoying sluggish times, but we're not enjoying them very much."

Former President George W. Bush says he told his father just before he died that he had been a "wonderful dad" and that he loved him. Delivering a eulogy at the elder Bush's funeral on Wednesday, George W. Bush said his father's "last words on earth were 'I love you, too.'"
    
George W. Bush extolled his father, not only for his service as president but also as a role model as a loving husband, father and grandfather.
    
Bush choked up at the end of his eulogy before regaining his composure. He patted his father's flag-draped coffin twice as he went back to his seat at the Washington National Cathedral. Former first lady Laura Bush wiped her eyes with a tissue as her husband sat next to her.

Four remaining ex-presidents and President Donald Trump were in attendance.
    
Bush's remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot.
    
The 41st president oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Bill Clinton in 1992. 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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