Americans Mourn 41st President George H.W. Bush Americans around the country and in the nation's capital mourned former President George H.W. Bush during his funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.
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Americans Mourn 41st President George H.W. Bush

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Americans Mourn 41st President George H.W. Bush

Americans Mourn 41st President George H.W. Bush

Americans Mourn 41st President George H.W. Bush

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/673857781/673857837" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Americans around the country and in the nation's capital mourned former President George H.W. Bush during his funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.

(SOUNDBITE OF UNITED STATES MARINE BAND PERFORMANCE OF JAMES SANDERSON'S "HAIL TO THE CHIEF")

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

With the sounds of "Hail To The Chief," former President George Herbert Walker Bush began his final day in Washington. The flag-draped casket of the former president, vice president, CIA director, envoy, congressman and oilman was carried down the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As his five surviving children and their spouses watched, the casket was loaded into a hearse bearing the presidential seal.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIRENS)

KELLY: The motorcade crept down Pennsylvania Avenue, passing Bush's onetime home at number 1600 as an honor guard stood at attention. The 41st president arrived at the National Cathedral right before 11 am.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICHAEL CURRY: Deliver your servant George, sovereign Lord Christ from all evil and set him free from every bond.

CHANG: As the nation's current and former presidents looked on from the front row, Bush was eulogized by friends, family and those who knew him best during his long career of public service. Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson reminded the crowd of how much Bush loved a good joke but could never, ever remember the punchline.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALAN SIMPSON: And I mean never - so the punchline for George Herbert Walker Bush is this. You would have wanted him on your side. He never lost his sense of humor. Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life. That's what humor is. He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew. Hatred corrodes the container it's carried in.

CHANG: When it came time to sum up what made his father's life great, George W. Bush, 43, quoted his dad's inaugural address - an address that encouraged Americans to leave their children more than material things - like, be good parents; be good citizens, good neighbors.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, Dad, we're going to remember you for exactly that and much more. And we're going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever. So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you - a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again.

CHANG: The day ended much as it began - with an honor guard and sounds of "Hail To The Chief" saluting a president leaving Washington for the last time.

(SOUNDBITE OF UNITED STATES MARINE BAND PERFORMANCE OF JAMES SANDERSON'S "HAIL TO THE CHIEF")

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