Mulroney fights tears in loving tribute to former president George Bush

A divided Washington led by the nation's five living presidents put on a show of unity Wednesday at the poignant state funeral of George HW Bush, as America bade farewell to its 41st president.

It was his first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in 1989, and as a parade of world leaders took turns at the podium, newly elected USA president George H.W. Bush was taking a lot of notes.

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".

Calling Bush a "charter member of the Greatest Generation", Baker said Bush was the "nation's best one-term president". Others were given by Bush biographer Jon Meacham and former Republican senator Alan Simpson. So, he handed the 94-year-old the phone as Bush began to say his final goodbye.

Mr Carter, the 39th President of the United States, attended the memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral with his wife Rosalynn. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited with Bush and Laura Bush at the White House on Tuesday, and later went to Blair House, across the street, later in the day. In place of most Washington dignitaries were top Houston athletes including the NFL Texans' defensive end J.J. Watt - displaying Bush's love for sports - and Chuck Norris, who played TV's "Walker, Texas Ranger". It is also bringing together world envoys, the four remaining ex-presidents, and President Trump.

George W. Bush broke down briefly at the end of his eulogy while invoking the daughter his parents lost in 1953 and his mother, who died in April. There was little warmth when Trump greeted only his direct predecessor Obama before taking his seat and looking directly ahead.

After handing his coat over, Trump sat down and shook hand with Barack and Michelle Obama before snubbing the Clintons. "'I'm sorry, I zoned out there for a minute, '" Colbert said, as Trump.

Following the funeral at St Martin's, where Bush and his late wife, Barbara Bush, were long-time worshippers, a train will carry his remains about 100 miles (160 km) northwest to College Station, Texas, where he will be laid to rest at his presidential library.

A patrician figure, Bush was voted out of office in part for failing to connect with ordinary Americans during an economic recession.

No such statement is expected that the Bush funeral, but it's likely that he will be eulogized as a leader unique for his devotion to public service.

  • Jacqueline Ellis