The late George Herbert Walker Bush had a peaceful send-off, People is reporting. The Reverend Dr. Russell Levenson Jr., Bush’s long-time pastor, recounted the former president’s passing during an emotional eulogy at a state funeral in the National Cathedral on December 5. Bush was noticeably fading on November 30, prompting his best friend and former Secretary of State, James Baker III, to return with his wife to Bush’s side at his home in Houston for the third time that day. There, Baker rubbed Bush’s feet “for perhaps half an hour.” Baker could be seen crying in the pews as Levenson recalled the story.
“The president smiled at the comfort of his dear friend,” Levenson said. “Here I witnessed a world leader who was serving a servant who had been our world’s leader. Sitting with us is someone the president liked to call his little brother, James Baker, and his wife Susan. There had been wonderful hugs and kind words throughout the day, kisses throughout the day.”
Bush was surrounded by love from his family, friends, and dog Sully until the very end. Levenson said the family members who weren’t there called in throughout the day to say their goodbyes. As Bush neared his final minutes on Earth, Levenson, family members, and doctors all prayed over Bush.
Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, Jr. describes former Pres. George H.W. Bush's final moments, during which former Sec. of State Jim Baker, Bush's best friend and "little brother," rubbed his feet; in his seat at the National Cathedral, Baker begins to sob https://t.co/U9j5PUVbqs pic.twitter.com/dgurPYopAA
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) December 5, 2018
“At the end, we all knelt,” Levenson shared. “We all placed our hands on the president. We said our prayers together. And then we were silent for a full long measure as this man, who changed all of our lives, who changed our nation — it was a beautiful end. It was a beautiful beginning. For a moment, but a moment only, that dear point of light we know as George Herbert Walker Bush dimmed, but it now shines brighter than it ever before has. … Heaven just got a bit kinder and gentler.”
Levenson’s speech was only one of many tear-jerking eulogies given in honor of the life of President George H. W. Bush, another article from People reports. Also notable was the eulogy given by Bush’s son, George W. Bush, who followed in his father’s footsteps by also serving as a United States President. George was visibly shaken and tried to hold back tears as he spoke in his father’s memory. He referred to Bush Sr. as “optimistic,” “empathetic,” and “close to perfect,” among other things. He expressed his belief that Bush Sr. was reunited with his wife, Barbara, who died in April, and their daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953 at the age of 3.