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Coverage of the Funeral Of First Lady Barbara Bush. Aired 12- 1pm ET

Aired April 21, 2018 - 12:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: It is my honor and privilege on behalf of this wonderful family and St. Martin's Episcopal Church to welcome you to this service of celebration for the life and the service and the faith of Barbara Pierce Bush. Would you please stand, turn to Page 3 and let us sing with strength our opening hymn "Praise To The Lord."



PRIEST: With a sense of your goodness, lift up yourself upon them, give us peace through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.


PRIEST: -- I am the resurrection and the life, sayith the lord. He that beleaveth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

And though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger. For none of us liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself. For if we live, we live unto the Lord.

And if we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, even so sayith the spirit, for they rest from their labors.

ANNOUNCER: The Lord be with you.

ALL: And with thy spirit.

[12:10:06] ANNOUNCER: Remain standing, let us pray. O God whose mercies cannot be numbered, accept our prays on behalf of thy servant, Barbara Pierce Bush, and grant Barbara an entrance into the land of light and joy in the fellowship of thy saints, through Jesus Christ, thy son, our Lord, who liveth and reignth with thee in the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen. Please be seated for the lessons. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A reading from Ecclesiastes. For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to break down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw away stones. A time to gather stones together. A time to embrace. A time to refrain from embracing. A time to seek and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to sew. A time to keep silence and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.

He has made everything suitable for its time. Moreover, He has put a sense of past and future into their minds. Yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.

Moreover, it is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in their toil. I know what God does endures forever. Nothing can be added to it. Nor anything taken from it. God has done this. So, all that should stand in awe before him. The word of the Lord.

ALL: Thanks be to God.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A reading from Proverbs. A capable wife who can find. She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in in her and he will have no lack of game. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant. She brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night. And provides food for her household and tasks for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it with the fruits of her hands she plants a vineyard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings. Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the city gates. Taking his seat among the elders of the land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She makes linen garments and sells them. She supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her happy. Her husband too, and he praises her. Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the city gates.

[12:20:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About a decade ago, I was on the Washington mall for the National Book Festival, on my way to give a talk about a book I'd written. When a woman ran up to me, which doesn't happen enough, believe me. And she said, oh, my God, it's you. I said, well, yes, you know. Kind of hard to argue with.

She said, I just admire you so much. I love your books. You meant a lot to me and really to my family. Would you wait right here? I want to go buy your new book and have you sign it. I said yes, ma'am. I stood there.

Let us confess, in this setting, I was feeling kind of full of myself. When she came back with John Grisham's latest novel. It gets worse. That had been on a Saturday in September. And I was on my way to Maine to see the 41st president of the United States and Mrs. Bush.

And I was feeling rather sorry for myself. And I told this story and Mrs. Bush looked across the table, looked me in the eye and I was thinking, here comes some motherly sympathy. That's called telegraphing.

Here it comes. And she said, well, how do you think poor John Grisham would feel? He's a very handsome man. So, I was 0 for 2, but it was a fair and funny point. As were so many of the points that Barbara Pierce Bush made in her long and consequential life.

Known as Barbara, as Bar, as mom, as mother, as Ganny, as the Silver Fox, and as The Enforcer, she was candid and comforting, steadfast and straight forward, honest and loving. Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation.

As the fiance and then the wife of a World War II naval aviator, she waited and prayed in the watches of the night. During the war, she worked at a nuts and bolts factory in Port Chester, New York. And she joined George H.W. Bush in the great adventure of postwar Texas. Moving to distant Odessa in 1948, 70 summers ago.

From Rye, Mrs. Bush's mother would send boxes of soap and detergent to her daughter on the grounds that they probably didn't have that kind of thing in West Texas. Mrs. Bush raised a family. Endured the loss of a daughter to leukemia and kept everything and everyone together. As the wife of one president and the mother of another, she holds a distinction that belongs to only one other American in the long history of the republic, Abigail Adams, who was present at the creation.

From the White House to Camp David to Walker's Point. In hours of war and of peace, of tumult and of calm, the Bushes governed in spirit, congeniality, civility and grace. Instinctively generous. Barbara and George Bush put country above party. The common good above political gain, and service to others above the settling of scores.

The couple had met at a Christmas dance in Greenwich in 1941. Not quite three weeks after Pearl Harbor. She was wearing a red and green holiday dress. He endeavored to get introduced. She was 16. He was 17. He was the only boy she ever kissed. Her children, she remarked, always wanted to throw up when they heard that.

In a letter to Barbara during the war, George H.W. Bush wrote, I love you, Precious, with all my heart, and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.

And if you ask them, they'll be the first to say they were. I once asked President Bush if he had known even in the beginning how resilient Mrs. Bush would be. No, he said, tears coming to his eyes, and he went on. She's the rock of the family, the leader of the family.

I kind of float above it all, but she's always there. Always there for me and for the kids. Just amazing, debutante from Rye, willing to make our own way, have adventures. Wasn't always easy for her, but never a word of complaint, just love and strength. Opinions, too, of course. Lots of those.

She was strength itself. And if her tongue were sometimes sharp, she was as honest with herself as she was with all of us. When she once unwisely described a female political opponent of her husband's, as a word that rhymed with "rich," she reported that her family had begun calling her the poet laureate.

And she loved the story of how when her eldest son, the 43rd president of the United States, took up painting, his instructor asked him if he'd ever used the color burnt umber. No, 43 replied, but he did remember that from his mother's cooking. Brings down the house, she would say, approvingly.

Mother and son needled each other to the end. In her final days, while the 43rd president was visiting, Mrs. Bush asked one of her doctors if she'd like to know why George W. had turned out the way he had. And then she announced, I smoked and drank while I was pregnant.

She was a point of light. In 1989, when many Americans lived in ignorance about HIV/AIDS, Mrs. Bush went to a home for infected infants and hugged the children there as well as an adult male patient. The images sent a powerful message. One of compassion, of love, and of acceptance.

She believed literacy, a fundamental civil and human right, and gave the cause her all. At a televised event, commemorating the bicentennial of the constitution, Mrs. Bush met a man named J.T. Pace. The 63-year-old son of a former share cropper.

Mr. Pace, who had only recently become literate, was scheduled to read the Constitution's Preamble aloud. Backstage, he was nervous. Mrs. Bush asked if it would help if they read it together on the broadcast. Mr. Pace agreed.

Soon, the two of them stood on stage reading in unison. As Mr. Pace grew comfortable, Mrs. Bush lowered her voice and lowered it again and then again until at last J.T. Pace was reading entirely on his own. He wept, and he read supported by Barbara Bush, who stood to his side, now silent.

Her work was done. When his voice spoke of the unending search for a more perfect union. J.t. Pace had found his voice. Not least because Barbara Bush had lent him her heart. Just last summer, on a sunny day, on the Bush's porch in Maine, talk turned to World War II.

And that terrible Saturday September 2nd, 1944, when lieutenant junior gray, George Herbert Walker Bush, was shot down on a bombing raid. Two of his crew mates didn't make it becoming casualties of war. Lieutenant Bush parachuted out of the bomber, plunged into the sea, came up to the surface, flopped on to a life raft and waited, scared and retching.

Had young Bush been captured by the Japanese, he would have been held captive on an island that was home to horrific war crimes including cannibalism. Bar, he'd say in later years, I could have been an hors d'oeuvre. In truth, it had been the closest of calls. George, Mrs. Bush said, in Maine, last July, in their great old age, lost in reminiscence, you must have been saved for a reason. I know there had to be a reason. President Bush sat silently for the briefest of moments, then raised that big left hand and pointed his finger across the table at his wife. You, he said hoarsely, you were the reason.

BARBARA PIERCE BUSH, GEORGE W. BUSH'S DAUGHTER: A reading from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure. Because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. If, indeed, when we have taken it off, we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden. Because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed. So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God. Who has given us the spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident. Even though we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. The word of the Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Thanks be to God.

REV. DR. RUSSELL J, LEVENSON. JR., RECTOR, ST. MARTIN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Would you please stand and together let us sing on page 11 the verses from "Amazing Grace."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Glory to you, O Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus said, everything that the Father gives me will come to me. And anyone who comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

[12:35:13] This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the son and believe in Him may have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day. The Gospel of the Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Praise be to thee, O Christ.


SUSAN GARRETT BAKER, WIFE OF FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER: It's hard to think about life without that force of nature, that our very special friend was Barbara Bush. She was smart, strong, fun and feisty. Even sometimes making the headlines she regretted. The world saw that. And like we did, they admired and loved her for it.

The world saw a remarkable and selfless companion to her beloved husband George. It was extraordinary how she managed their rambunctious household in 29 different homes, in 17 cities. At the same time, she fully participated and has amazing career, including too many political campaigns to count. Starting from the time he was chairman of the Harris County Republican Party to becoming President of the United States.

Once back in Houston, they continued their dedication to volunteerism and exhausting rounds of good works. Rather than bemoan their many moves, Barbara just laughed and said one thing I can say about George, he may not be able to keep a job, but he certainly not boring. The world saw a compassionate but strict mother who inspired her children with tender love and firm lessons and when needed the fear of God.

When we saw her and George together with their five children, with their 17 grandchildren and 7 great grands, we knew they represented the very best. As we watched their broad wisecrack with one another or work together on a volunteer program or campaign, we thought how wonderful it would be if more families could be so cohesive. Barbara, the tough but loving enforcer, was the secret sauce of this extraordinary family.

The world respects Barbara Bush's deep passion and great effectiveness in equipping those who cannot read with the skill to do so. We all celebrate her vision and tenacious dedication to literacy. Of course, the world has seen Barbara's many public contributions. But what the world may not have seen is what an amazing, caring and beautiful friend that Bar was to so many of us.

[12:40:14] When Jim and I first arrived in Washington in 1975, I was overwhelmed trying to manage our newly blended family of seven children and an intimidating environment. Fortunately, Bar took me under her wing. She encouraged me. She offered suggestions. And she invited us to lunch almost every Sunday lunch. Those hamburger lunches that always ended with an incredible dessert included famous personalities as well as many unknowns whom they loved. And this really helped us become part of the Washington world.

When we returned to Washington in 1981, George was Vice President and Jim was White House Chief of Staff. Bar encouraged me to use Jim's position in the Reagan administration to promote the causes that I cared about. This really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I followed her wise lead. She supported my efforts to help the homeless by holding meetings in the Vice President's house. What a blessing. This meant that many came who otherwise would have not given our group the time of day.

She also hosted controversial homeless advocates so we could help people understand about the plight of those who live on the street. Even though that was not a popular position in the administration. Bar taught us volumes about who our neighbors are, and how to love them. Because of their own tragic loss of daughter Robyn, Barbara knew how to comfort those who were suffering. My Jim was among them. As she helped him during his first wife's losing battle with cancer.

Barbara's motivation to help others was never about herself. But about giving love and support to those in need. Her friendship didn't stop with people she knew. Barbara Bush was pen pals with people she had never met. She corresponded for several years with a young girl who named her Heffer after Barbara.

The child sent frequent updates on the bovine Barbara Bush which competed in the Houston rodeo and livestock show one year and finished in eighth place. I was sorry for my little friend, Barbara said later, but was slightly relieved as I am not sure I could have stood the headlines, Barbara Bush wins the fat stock show.

About friendship, Bar said, the most important yard stick of your success will be how you treat other people, your family, your friends, and co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way. She was the gold standard of what it meant to be a friend because she was motivated by the desire to show God's love to each and every one of his children that she met. C.S. Lewis once defined friendship as the instrument by which God reveals to each of us, the beauties of others. Bar's beauty was evident in every day of her life.

Saying goodbye to our special friend is painful. But it's a great comfort in knowing that we will see this good and faithful servant again one day. Thank you, dear Lord, for bringing Barbara Pierce Bush, this vibrantly beautiful human being, into the world, and especially for bringing her friendship into our lives. Amen.

[19:45:38] JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: As I stand here today to share a few words about my mom, I feel her looming presence behind me. And I know exactly what she's thinking right now. Jeb, keep it short, don't drag this out. People have already heard enough remarks already. And most of all, don't get weepy.

Remember, I spent decades laughing and living a life with these people. And that is true. Barbara Bush filled our lives with laughter and joy. In the case of our family, she was our teacher and role model in how to live a life with purpose and meaning.

On behalf of our family, we want to thank the thousands and thousands of expressions of condolence and love for our precious mother. We want to thank mom's care givers for their compassionate care in the last months of her life. I want to thank Neil and Maria for their next door family love of our parents. And thank John and Susan for their eloquent words. Meachum, you might have been a little long, but it was beautiful.

We want to thank Russ and Laura for their friendship and pastoral care of our parents. And we want to thank all that are gathered here to celebrate the life of Barbara Bush.

Now, it is appropriate to express gratitude, because we learned to do that at a very early age. You see, our mom was our first and most important teacher. Sit up. Look people in the eye. Please, say please and thank you. Do your homework. Quit whining and stop complaining. Eat your broccoli. Yes, dad, she said that.

The little things we learned became habits. And they led to bigger things like be kind. Always tell the truth. Never disparage anyone. Serve others. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated. And love your God with your heart and soul. What a blessing to have a teacher like that 24/7.

Now, to be clear, her students weren't perfect. That's an understatement. Mom got us through our difficult times with consistent take-it-to-the-bank, unconditional but tough love. She called her style a benevolent dictatorship but honestly it wasn't always benevolent.

When our children got a little older, they would spend more time visiting their Gampy and Ganny. All it would take would be one week and when they came home, all of a sudden, they were pitching in around the house. They didn't fight as much. And they were actually nice to be with. I attribute this to the unbridled fear of the Ganny lecture and the habit forming effects of better behavior taking hold. Even in her 90s, mom could strike fear into her grandchildren, nephews, nieces and her children if someone didn't behave. There were no safe spaces or micro aggressions allowed with Barbara Pierce Bush. But in the end, every grandchild knew their Ganny loved them.

We learned a lot more fro our mom and our Ganny. We learned not to take ourselves too seriously. We learned that humor is a joy that should be shared. Some of my greatest memories are participating in our family dinners with mom when mom would get into it. Most of the time with George W. he might imagine, and having us all laughing to tears.

We learned to strive to be genuine and authentic by the best role model in the world. Her authentic plastic pearls. Her not curling her hair. By the way, she was beautiful until the day she died. Her hugging of an HIV/AIDS patient at a time when her own mother wouldn't do it. Her standing by her man with a little rhyming poetry in the 1984 election.

And a thousand other ways Barbara Pierce Bush was real. And that's why people admired her and loved her so.

Finally, our family has had a front row seat for the most amazing love story. Through a multitude of moves. From new haven to Odessa to Ventura to Bakersfield to Compton, to Midland, to Houston, to D.C., to New York, to D.C., to Beijing, to D.C., to Houston, to D.C., back to Houston and Kennebunkport.

[12:50:06] Their love was a constant in our lives. My dad is a phenomenal letter writer. And he would write mom on their wedding anniversaries which totaled an amazing 73 years.

Here's one of them written on January 6th, 1984. Will you marry me? Oops, I forgot, we did that 49 years ago. I was very happy on that day in 1945 but I'm even happier today. You have given me joy that few men know. You have made our boys into men by balling them out and then right away by loving them.

You've helped Doro be the sweetest, greatest daughter in the whole wide world. I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband. Mom used to tell me, now, George, don't walk ahead. Little did she know I was only trying to keep up, keep up with Barbara Pierce from Rye, New York. I love you.

The last time my mom went into the hospital, I think dad got sick on purpose so that they could be with her. That's my theory at least because literally a day later, he showed up with an illness. He came into a room when she was sleeping and held her hand. His hair was standing straight up. He had on a mask to improve his breathing. He was wearing a hospital gown. In other words, he looked like hell.

Mom opened her eyes and said, my god, George, you are devastatingly handsome. Every nurse, doctor, staffer had to run to the hallway because they all started crying. I hope you can see why we think our mom and our dad are teachers and models for our entire family and for many others.

Finally, the last time I was with her, I asked her about dying. Was she ready to go? Was she sad? Without missing a beat, she said, Jeb, I believe in Jesus and he is my savior. I don't want to leave your dad, but I know I'll be in a beautiful place.

Mom, we look forward to being with you and Robyn and all of God's children. We love you.

LEVENSON: Bow your heads in prayer for just a moment. Almighty God, the source of all comfort, be close to us in our grief. The source of all gifts give us grateful hearts. And the source of new life, may we celebrate Barbara's new life with you. This, I pray, in Christ's name, amen.

OK. So I begin with an apology. I realize this is a historic moment and I messed up a minute ago. It's good for a priest to apologize from time to time. I announced the hymn a little too early. Thank you for going along with the hymn.

I have to tell you, we planned this service carefully about three weeks ago. Barbara said to me, and this isn't in my remarks, Russ, I don't know if I want to sing "Amazing Grace." Everybody sings that. And I said, well, Bar, you know, everybody knows that. And then I messed it up.

So it's like Bar got the last laugh on me on that one. So thanks again.

Despite this distinguished gathering today, I have to tell you that I think there are only two who can fill this place the way it's filled today. The first of those is Jesus Christ. The second of those is Barbara Bush. So we are grateful for your gathering here today.

The word offering came to mind and then I heard Barbara say don't even think about it. Ganny's garden, giving my friends and loved ones of Barbara Pierce Bush is a lovely spot to rest and reflect near downtown Kennebunkport. And there you'll find on a sculpted bench a wide brim sun hat, the kind Barbara wore in her garden, and an open copy face- down of her favorite book Jane Austen's "Pride And Prejudice."

Jane Austen used one of her characters in that book to utter a wonderful truth, "I declare there is no enjoyment like reading. How much sooner one tires of anything than of the book." Reading literacy for all was, as you know, Barbara Bush's great passion.

[12:55:04] Every great book has a good beginning, but also a wonderful end. So the life story of Barbara Bush as best described as a consummate good read. We gathered today in this holy space that has been the worshipping community of President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush for more than 50 years.

It is a humbling privilege to speak as her pastor, her friend, her priest, and her confidant. What an interesting thing to be a confidant to a woman who has no secrets. What you saw was what you got. What was in here came out here.

The author of our lesson in proverbs muses on the gifts of a loving wife and mother, a godly woman. All of which Barbara had. She believed in and practiced the principles of honesty, tolerance, decency, courage, and strength, and perhaps, above all, humility. She lived according to the mantra of the Bush family for many years, don't get caught up in the big me.

One day, we were walking together on the beach in Kennebunkport. Barbara was washing off her own shoes. And a fella came up to her and said, hey, you look a lot like Barbara Bush. And without missing a beat Barbara just said, yes, I hear that a lot.

She was a friend to people of every political persuasion and race and religion. Her generosity of spirit did not draw lines that kept others out. Hers was a life of circles that sought to bring others in. Here in Houston, we saw her at major galas, behind home plate at the Astros games, praying here in the pews, catching up with a neighbor while pushing her own buggy through Walgreens.

And her humor. We've heard so much. Hundred stories we could tell. One day after sharing prayers and communion with the President and Bar, my wife, Laura, leaned over to kiss the President on the cheek. At which point, BB, one of her beloved dogs, nipped my wife on the calf. This is a badge of honor, by the way.

Apologies came but the next morning on our doorstep was a beautiful orchid with a handwritten note. Dear Laura, I'm so sorry about the bite, you just looked good enough to eat.

My word, we could talk endlessly about how great this woman is. But we are reminded in the lesson from Ecclesiastes that there comes a time for everything, even the end of a great story. The least of Barbara's virtues I think was patience.

If you're sharing a meal or waiting on her favorite drink, bourbon and water for the record, I pause to say with all the talking about drinking and all the language from the pulpit, we've done a great deal of evangelism for my church today, thank you. And I mean that sincerely.

If things were slowing up, Barbara would say, why the hold up? Barbara liked to see things move along. I think that's why we're here today. I think Barbara was becoming impatient. She was tired of waiting on the next chapter. So, well, she welcomed it on April 17th.

But perhaps it will help all of us who are left behind. Jesus was Barbara's pathway to God. She honored and believed that others found God in their own way but for her being a Christian mattered. We were talking one day a few years ago and she kind of paused and looked me in the eye and she said, I am a Christian. I do believe. And then she said, I want to be confirmed. And then she said, do I have to take a class. And I said, take one? Bar, you could teach one.

So in May of 2015, she and some family gathered in our chapel, as she confirmed her faith in Christ. Not something she wore on her shoulder, just something very personal and very real. She simply confirmed what we believe, what we read in the lesson from second Corinthians that we live not by what we see but by our faith and those things that we don't see.

So as Paul wrote, even on days like today, we don't lose hearts --