Former President George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday at the age of 94 in Houston, Texas. On Monday, his body lay in state as family members, friends, and fellow politicians gathered to honor the life of service that he led as our president from 1989 to 1993.
His son, former President George W. Bush, was deeply emotional as a chaplain opened the Capitol Rotunda ceremony with a prayer as his father lay in state. It was less than a year ago that his mother Barbara died at 92.
“We give you thanks, Almighty God, for the appearance among us of great men and women who serve as inspirations for all Americans to be their best in service to God, country, and neighbor,” the chaplain began.
“This day, we honor our 41st President George H.W. Bush,” he continued. “President Bush dedicated his entire life to public service as a vocation, first in the military, then as a member of Congress, a diplomat, director of the CIA, vice president, and finally, president.”
“It is a record of service reminiscent of John Quincy Adams and unmatched in nearly a century,” he said. “We thank you, O God, for having endowed President Bush with noblesse oblige (French: nobility obliges) and ask that his example of service to others might be an inspiration to all Americans, indeed, to all the world.”
George W. Bush shook with emotion as he stood with his eyes closed for the prayer. His wife Laura, his brother Jeb, and his sister-in-law Columba stood to his left. Vice President Mike Pence stood to his right.
“As we continue this celebration of honor, grant that all who attend to these proceedings might be desirous of being our best selves in service to all our brothers and sisters, as you might call us to be,” the Chaplain prayed.
“Dear Lord, thank you for inspiring such greatness in President George H.W. Bush and continue to bless the United States of America,” he concluded. “Amen.”
Watch that prayer below:
H.W. Bush’s body arrived in Washington, D.C. from Houston Monday morning. Its arrival was greeted at the Capitol by a 21-gun salute. His son struggled to hold back his tears then as the band played and the guns boomed.
A public service for H.W. Bush will take place at the National Cathedral in D.C. on Wednesday, according to NBC News. Following that service, his body, will be returned to Houston where it will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church until Thursday’s private funeral.
The final resting place for his remains will alongside the grave of his wife at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. Our prayers go out to his loved one as they deal with their loss.