The 43rd president gave the presidential eulogy at the funeral of the 41st president — a eulogy that was especially touching, as it wasn’t just for a president, but for a father as well.
Former President George W. Bush gave the eulogy for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who “showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country.”
George W. Bush was among the other four living U.S. presidents who attended the funeral at the Washington National Cathedral: President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter attended as well.
During the younger Bush’s speech for his father, he held back tears as he explained their last conversation — the last minutes of H.W. Bush’s life.
Bush explained that his father “valued character over pedigree” and “showed us how setbacks can strengthen,” adding that H.W. Bush “could tease and needle, but never out of malice.”
Bush explained that though the 41st president was firm in his principles, he was also supportive as each of the family members lived out their own paths and he “always responded with a great gift of unconditional love.”
H.W. Bush’s son then went on to explain the last conversation he had with his father in the last few minutes of his life.
“The guy answered the phone, said, ‘I think he can hear you, but he hadn’t said anything for most of the day.’ I said, ‘Dad, I love you and you’ve been a wonderful father.’ And the last words he would ever say on earth were, ‘I love you too.’”
Chocking back tears, Bush described his father as “close to perfect” — before saying, “but not totally perfect,” and going on to joke that his father’s short game in golf was “lousy.”
Watch the presidential eulogy below:
Bush said the history books will say, “George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States, a diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander and chief of formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor.”
“We’re going to miss you,” he said as he welled up of tears, adding that the late president was the “best father” and he smiles “knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”
President and Mrs. Bush were deeply impacted by the death of their daughter Robin, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of three. For the rest of their lives, helping to fight cancer was one of the many great causes driving George and Barbara Bush. #remembering41 pic.twitter.com/nQDJ1chijb
— Bush Library (@Bush41Library) December 1, 2018
Barbara Bush, H.W. Bush’s wife, died eight months prior to her husband, and their daughter, Robin, died at the age of three to leukemia.
As the nation mourns the loss of the 41st president, his life code that states, according to his biographer Jon Meacham, “Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course,” will be remembered.