Thousands Pay George H.W. Bush Their Last Respects In Houston

The body of former President George H. W. Bush lay in repose overnight at the church he and Barbara Bush attended for decades.


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The line of people who came to pay former President George H.W. Bush their last respects wrapped around two corners of the nearby Second Baptist Church, from where mourners were shuttled to St. Martin's Episcopal Church, where Bush was lying in repose.

Overall, about 12,000 people came to view Bush's flag-draped casket, according to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.

The first shuttle was set to begin boarding Wednesday at 4:45 pm, but Donnie Berkheimer-Lubeck said she was the first one to arrive at 9 a.m., hours before they let her line up. She said viewing the casket along with the honor guard was beautiful.

"It's very solemn. I mean it takes your breath away," she said. "Of course, knowing it's the last time we ever get to see him, you know, this is it, it has quite an effect on you."

Denton Ragland said he worked on Bush's presidential campaign in 1988, and that he's gotten more emotional about Bush's death than he expected.

"He's an enduring example of what we should all strive for in our personal lives and the life of our country," he said, choking up.

Jan Robertson, a U.S. history teacher at George Bush High School, was wearing an American flag shirt and Santa Claus socks in honor of Bush.

She said the late president's kindness is what the country needs to get back to.

"You could bring George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton together for various projects, I think was phenomenal," she said. "And just his whole demeanor and what not, I'm just here to say thanks."

Lynne Campbell Bonham, who came with her daughter, said she has known the Bushes for over 50 years and went to the same church as them, St. Martin's Episcopal, where she taught Sunday School, just like Barbara Bush.

"They were just such wonderful people," she said. "And they were so down to earth. And they loved everybody, and everybody loved them."

Mohsan Tajipour said he considered it his duty as a U.S. citizen to pay Bush his respects, and that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"That was an honor to me to go and just (pay) my respect and all to the president," he said.

The funeral service was scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday morning at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

After that Bush's body will be taken by train to College Station, where he will be buried at his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

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