Barbara Bush’s moving funeral evoked a better America -

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Barbara Bush’s moving funeral evoked a better America

Former Presidents and First Ladies were among the scores of people who paid tribute to Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. (RICHARD CARSON/REUTERS)
In such a mean, coarse time in America, they celebrated the life of Barbara Bush on Saturday in St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, celebrated her life with her husband of 73 years, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States. In so doing, they celebrated an old-fashioned thing called grace, and the country that we still aspire to be, one in which people lived lives instead of tweeting them.
They honored Barbara Bush’s life on this day, with former Presidents in that church in Houston, and former First Ladies and the current First Lady of the United States. And during a eulogy given by Jon Meacham, he described Barbara Bush as “the First Lady of the Greatest Generation.”
George H.W. Bush and Barbara Pierce were married in the 1940s. (@GEORGEHWBUSH VIA TWITTER)
She was a wife and a mother and a fierce advocate for her husband and for her children and grandchildren, a fine and tireless and honorable advocate for literacy in this country. In these ways, Mrs. Bush was as great an American as her husband has been, from the time he served his country and nearly died for it during World War II. That was his war, and the flying war of my own 94-year-old father, a bombardier in B24 Liberators, and an America that only they can properly understand.
“We never thought of ourselves as being part of any great generation,” my father says. “We were just doing what we thought Americans were supposed to do.”
George H.W. Bush and Barbara Pierce were married in the 1940s. He was elected President in 1988. Their son George W. Bush was elected President 12 years after his father was. But really it is this remarkable old man and his wife who saw everything in this country over their time together, and lived, each of them, lives of possibilities, not just for them, but for their children.
Was she tough? She was tough as nails, and spoke her mind, and never backed down from anybody or anything, including her own husband. And when she was finally gone this week, when he understood inside a truly great mind and great heart that it was time to let go, the image you remembered best was of her husband, in the same church where she would be remembered on Saturday, sitting in his wheelchair and staring up at her casket, staring at her American life in that moment, and at his own.
At Bush's funeral, Jon Meacham described her as “the First Lady of the Greatest Generation.” (DAVID J. PHILLIP/POOL/GETTY IMAGES)
“I don’t want to leave your dad,” Jeb Bush said in his own eulogy, speaking of one of his last conversations with his mother. “But I know I will be in a beautiful place.”

The beautiful place is the America she shared with her husband and with her children, across the second half of the last century and the beginning of this one. This was a day when another reporter was attacked by the current President, in the graceless country of Twitter. A better America, a more graceful one, the one we still want so badly to be, was honored in Houston. The truly beautiful place was there.

- ny news 

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