Washington, Dec 6: Former president George W Bush on Wednesday, December 5, paid an emotional farewell to his father George H W Bush, also a former president, who died at his residence in Houston, Texas, last week aged 94.
Speaking at the National Cathedral in Washington where his father lied in state, the 43rd incumbent of the White House gave a 12-minute speech in which he reflected on his father's close bond with his six children, his love for Barbara to whom he was married for 73 years (the longest presidential marriage in the history of the US) and his enduring affection for Robin, the daughter he lost at the age of just four in 1954. She died of leukemia.
Bush said during his speech: "The best father a son or daughter can have" with his voice shaking. "And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom's hand again." Barbara Bush passed away in April this year.
Four living American presidents were present on the occasion and were sitting on a bench in the front, along with their wives. They included Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the oldest of all aged 94.
Bush Junior said his father had good qualities like finding character over pedigree and shared lighter stuff that the man hated certain vegetables like broccoli. He also recalled that during World War II, Bush Senior was shot down over the Pacific as a Navy pilot and that instances like those encouraged him to live everyday of his life "to the fullest".
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George H W Bush had even gone for skydiving on his 90th birthday near the family's residence in Maine in front of all family members.