George Herbert Walker Bush decided he would not go back to the hospital again. Clearly, he wanted to be with his wife, and get beyond the trials and troubles, pains and problems of being kept alive. It was time to go.
Time to say goodbye to all the family here, who were so dear to him. Time to head home to all that his life-long Christian faith had assured him would be there, on heaven's side. Most of all, His heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who had led, and guided, and guarded him all his life long.
When his body, lying under the draped flag of his country he had loved and served so long, came to the Capitol rotunda in Washington before his funeral services, leaders in Congress and the government, and all his extended family circled around to say goodbye. Apparently, his beloved helper dog lay watchful beside him. His oldest son, the 43rd President of the United States, struggled to hold back the tears that were in his heart. He had held an uncommon love for his father all the years of his life.
My wife was herself brushing back tears as she watched the proceedings from Washington that were coming through the television when I arrived home.
"He gave a great gift to his country," she said, "in his life and the spirit in which he lived it, which we can remember in these days of mourning."
He gave us a great sense of family with those he held so close. And of marriage, in his long deep love for Barbara. And an instinct always to serve others, which he demonstrated all his years. And his deep Christian faith which he lived.
Over and again, his grandsons spoke of his essential kindness and the grandpa they knew who was never angry.
He is said to have been the best-prepared president we ever had, for his life had been serving. He gave us his "thousand points of light," his vision of service.
Molly remembers that her father served on the Greenwich, CT town council with Prescott Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush's father, who later became Senator from Connecticut.
I can recall being at the beach in Maine, very near Kennebunkport in the days when "41" was President, and seeing the long "cigarette" boat speeding along off-shore, with George Herbert Walker Bush in it, and U.S. Coast Guard cutters trailing behind.
What a gift indeed, is our memory of this good man who served us all, and the world. In days already vastly different, with division, and anger and great hurt in our land, it is good for us to hear "Eternal Father, strong to save," the Navy hymn sung, and the earnest prayers said. It reminds us that, whatever comes, whatever divisions and difficulties and conflict in our national life, we are still held in the hands of our Eternal Father, who hears us, "when we cry to Thee," and is ever "strong to save."
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES