powell has retired to a quiet life but obviously one of the central figures in the iraq war during bush 41's presidency. >> bret: they'll file in as well as members of the house and senate. we should point out former senators as well. bill frisch and others in attendance who obviously had a big relationship with the 41st president. >> martha: i believe that's senator danforth toward the front of the line and lamar alexander of tennessee, andy card toward the back of the line there as these faces which were very familiar during the bush years gather for this moment. >> boyden gray and others. >> bret: the weather outside. president bush 41 -- a naval aviator. on his 80th birthday he said "ceiling and visible uny stricted, jump out of the plane,
a man who was shot down. a man who risked his life. a man who lost much of his crew in the course of his military career. what we're seeing now is precision as performed -- i think it's 4,000 military people. members of the joint headquarters for the washington region. who will be involved in these ceremonies and it is thoroughly appropriate not only for the commander in chief, george h.w. but for a man who put his life at risk for the united states of america, a man who served his country in so many important positions, not only as vice president and president but you might also recall envoy to china, and head of the central intelligence agency. what strikes me about this is this is america coming together in a way that is almost suggestive of pomp and circumstance of royalty and he was very much resistant to any such suggestion even though he
was president and the father of president george w. bush. but it's hard to get away from the idea that the bush family stands apart at this moment in terms of what they represent to us as the american people. >> martha: the color guard enters the capitol rotunda with the casket of the 41st president of the united states. interesting to think back to his congressional career. his first run for the senate was unsuccessful. he became a congressman and found his way here to the capitol building and began what was the beginning of his political life, becoming vice president and president of the united states of america, and now he returns to the capitol. >> bret: let's listen in.
>> 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. this day we honor our 41st president. george h.w. bush. 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 c.i.a., vice president and finally president. it is a record of service reminiscent of john quincy adams and unmatched in nearly a century. we thank you, oh god, for having
endowed president bush with noblesse obligue and ask that his example of service to others might be an inspiration to all americans, indeed, to all the world. as we continue this celebration of honor, grant that all be des best selves in service to all our brothers and sisters, as you might call us to be. dear lord, thank you for inspiring such greatness in president george h.w. bush and continue to bless the united states of america. amen.
>> 30 years ago, on the west front of this capitol, george herbert walker bush addressed the nation for the first time as our president. he said, "we meet on democracy's front porch. a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends." the words of a humble servant who loved his fellow citizens and of a principled leader who knew america not only guards our own future but also safeguards democracy for the world. today, this hero has returned to the capitol a final time.
not on the front porch of our democracy this time but here in its hallowed cathedral. beneath paintings that tell the story of our land and our liberty, and flanked by statues of his fellow champions whom he joined in making that story possible. george bush was just a teenager when he volunteered for military service and became the navy's youngest aviator. he was only 20 on that september day in 1944 when his plane was hit on a bombing run, but through the fire and smoke george bush stayed steady at the controls. only once he accomplished his mission did he parashoot-out over the pacific. a steady hand staying the
course. that's what george bush gave us for decades. decorated aviator, congressman, ambassador to the united nations, envoy to china, c.i.a. director, eight years as vice president, and our commander in chief. through the cold war and the soviet union's collapse he kept us on course. when the rule of law needed defending in the persian gulf, he kept us on course. with his even temperament and hard-won expertise, george herbert walker bush steered this country as straight as he steered that airplane. he kept us flying high and challenged us to fly higher still, and he did it with modesty, and kindness, that
would have been surprising in someone one 10th as tough and as accomplished as he was. the patriot who lies before us was blessed with many gifts but there was no doubt which he prized most of all. a great love story began at that christmas dance when george bush met barbara pierce, and the grace and virtue they taught their children have enriched this nation through a family of leaders. today, the nation stands with that family. with our 43rd president. with jeb, neil, marvin and doro, and all the bush grandchildren and great grandchildren. we stand with you in mourning, but also in gratitude. gratitude for lives well lived and duties thoroughly fulfilled.
gratitude that god gave this country george and barbara bush and that they may now be reunited in the light of his grace. >> as americans we have no more solemn duty than laying a great patriot to rest. here lies a great man. to the bush family, on behalf of the whole house, republicans and democrats, we are profoundly
sorry for your loss. and we are honored to celebrate this wonderful life with you. like so many, i feel a personal debt of gratitude today. a sentiment no doubt countless millions of americans of feeling at this moment. the 1988 campaign? that was the first one i was ever involved in. we handed out literature at the janesville craig cougar ballgames and at the county fair. i remember going to this big rally at miami of ohio the day after the first debate. the whole experience really drew me into politics. he was the first president i had the chance to vote for. and he was the first president to teach me and many of us that in a democracy, sometimes you
fall short. and that how you handle that, that is just as important as how you win. an old preacher once said, "grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected. grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected." glory is transcendant in the life of our republic. this rotunda is a trumpet call to glory. tributes to the giants all the way up into the sky. grace. grace is different. it's more elemental. it is not larger than life. it is the stuff of life.
the connective tissue in a free society. it deepens the well of our common humanity. throughout his life of service, president bush personified grace. his character was second to none. he reached the heights of power with uncommon humility. he made monumental contributions to freedom with a fundamental decency that resonates across generations. no one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life. there is that indelible image of him as commander in chief during the gulf war waving to a sea of troops during a visit during thanksgiving. there are all these images we
have of him as a devoted husband. that twinkle in his eye that barbara brought out especially in those big, huge family photos you all had in kennebunkport. this one i will never forget. there was that image of him as a loving father reaching out to hold his son's hand at the national cathedral after 9/11. there is this letter he wrote as children on the last day of 1990 as he wrestled with the decision over operation desert storm. he begins by recounting the family christmas, and he apologized if he seemed distracted. "i tried not to be," he writes. then for about a page he elaborates on his struggle over sending young americans into harm's way. twice in the letter, he writes,
"every human life is precious." in the original copy he adds by hand a note wishing his family a new year. in consequential times, george herbert walker bush demonstrated the finest qualities of our nation, and of human kind. a great leader and a good man. a gentle soul of firm resolve. he showed us that how we live is as important as what we achieve. his life was a hymn of honor. his legacy is grace perfected. his memory will belong to glory.
it is deeply humbling to stand before you today. at the beginning of a week in our nation's capital when we will commemorate and celebrate the lifetime of service and leadership of the 41st president of the united states. president george herbert walker bush. the bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve, and today, on behalf of the first family and my family, and the american people, we offer our deepest sympathies and respects to your family. and we thank you for sharing this special man with our nation and the world. today president bush becomes the 32nd american to lie in state in
the united states capitol rotunda. soon americans from every corner of the country and every walk of life will make their way to this rotunda to pay the respects of a grateful nation. upon the death of abner, the written that king david said "do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in israel this day?" george herbert walker bush was such a man. while he was known as the quiet man, he was not for lack of nerve or daring for in all of his 94 years president bush never lost his love of adventure, and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country. born into a tradition will public service, george herbert walker bush began his own life of service when he was still in high school. after the japanese attacked pearl harbor in december of
1941, he wanted to do his part so he enuloused in the united states navy on -- he enlisted in the united states navy on his 18th birthday. he became the nation's youngest naval aviator and was sent to the south pacific where his story almost ended. september 1944 on a bombing raid over chich ijima, his aircraft was hit, his engine caught fire, he still managed to hit his target before bailing out and being rescued by american forces after some four hours at sea. all told he flew 58 combat missions and for his bravery under fire he earned the distinguished flying cross which would have been enough honor for any american life, but george herbert walker bush was just getting started. after he came home he staked his claim to a booming post war america by making a name for himself in the oil business. for four years he walked these halls as a congressman from
houston. president nixon took notice of the young texan and asked him to be our ambassador to the united nations. he led our party during a tumultuous time for the presidency, and after earning the respect of another president, he did the work of a diplomat, as the first u.s. envoy to china, and led the c.i.a., then for eight years george herbert walker bush served as the 43rd vice president of the united states. i'm told as he was preparing to become vice president he once joked about the job, saying that there was "nothing substantive to do at all." but as history records, during those years, he set the standard as a sound counselor and loyal advisor to an outsider who came
to washington, d.c. to shake things up, cut taxes, rebuild the military and together, they did just that. and then in 1988 he made history again when george herbert walker bush was elected in a landslide as the 41st president of the united states of america, becoming the first sitting vice president to win the presidency in more than 150 years of our history. he served during an uncertain time in the world. made momentous by his leadership. president bush oversaw the fall of the soviet union, the crumbling of the berlin wall and under his leadership america won the cold war. he took our nation to war to repel aggression in the persian gulf and through his leadership as commander in chief and the
brilliance of our armed forces the united states won a decisive victory. when president george herbert walker bush left office he left america and the world more peaceful, prosperous and secure. president bush was a great leader who made a great difference in the life of this nation. but he was also just a good man. who was devoted to his wife, his family and his friends. i was lucky enough to meet him in 1988 when he was vice president and i was a 29-year-old just getting started in politics. then, as always, i was struck by his approachability. there was a kindness about the man that was evident to everyone who ever met him.
all his years in public service were characterized by kindness, modesty and patriotism. he was so modest, in fact, that he never wrote an autobiography but he did leave a record of his life in the thousands of letters that he wrote. i'm told that he started writing letters to his parents when he was 18 years old and over time, his circle of correspondence grew to include family, friends, advisors, staff, business associates, former presidents, and just about anyone who would take the trouble to write to him. after a lifetime of writing letters, my son got one, just not too long ago. as i told two of his sons this weekend, when our son made his first tailhook landing as a
marine aviator on the u.s. george herbert walker bush, i took the liberty of writing the ship's namesake to ask for a small favor. i didn't write him as a vice president to a former president. i just wrote as a proud dad of a marine aviator to a former navy pilot. i asked him to sign a picture of the flight deck that i could give to my son. we were told by the staff that the president had long since ended the practice of signing autographs and we understood that. but little to my surprise, just in time for my son's winging, there came not only a signed photograph but, of course, a letter. hand-signed as well. august 2018. in that letter president bush wrote to my son,
"congratulations on receiving your wings of gold. i know how proud you and your family are at this moment." and then in words that assured us that the letter came directly from him, he wrote, "though we have not met, i share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion, and i wish you many c.a.v.u. days ahead. all the best, g. bush." i would come to learn that that acronym, "cavu," for short is a term navy pilots have used since world war ii. it stands for ceiling and visibility unlimited. president bush described "cavu"in his words as the kind of weather we navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our
carrier in the pacific and he once wrote a letter to his children saying that "cavu," in his words, describes my own life as it's been over the years and as it is right now. "ceiling and visibility unlimited." that may well describe the essence of this man. and it may well have been his vision. the vision he had for his life. for his children. his children's children. and his country. no barriers, no boundaries, no limits. so we mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope. for president george herbert
walker bush had that hope. his face sustained him throughout his life of service -- his faith sustained him throughout his life of service and we pray that faith will be a source of comfort for all those who mourn the loss of this good man and great american. president george herbert walker bush loved his family, and he served his country. his example will always inspire and his lifetime of service will be enshrined in the hearts of the american people forever. may god bless the memory of george herbert walker bush and god comfort his family and friends, and may god continue to bless the united states of america.
us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea, amen ♪ >> let us pray. eternal father, strong to save, in whom we live and move and have our being, we praise you for your generous providence that provided our nation and world with the gift of your servant, president george herbert walker bush. lord, we are grateful for the
privilege you gave us to learn and grow from his integrity, kindness, heroism, courage, excellence, service, intellect, humility, civility, and spirituality. as we celebrate this well lived life, challenge us, oh god, to also lead -- to also leave the world better than we found it, continue to comfort those who mourn, touch each member of the bush family with your mercy, love and grace, and god, support
us all the day long until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world lies hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and a peace at last. we pray in the name of george herbert walker bush's savior and friend, jesus christ. amen.
governor and as vice president and i think that may have been the best speech he's delivered in a poignant eulogy to the 41st president. getting emotional at times talking about his son, first lieutenant mike pence who -- a marine aviator as you look at the 43rd president happy that this is the next moment but vice president pence saying that his son landed on the aircraft carrier the u.s.s. george bush and sent a picture to autograph, they were told he didn't do that, he got a letter back saying though we have not met i share the pride your father has for you on this momentous occasion saying "cavu," ceiling and visibility unlimited" which describes this night, describes this moment and poignant memories inside the capitol
rotunda. >> martha: indeed it does, when you look at this scene of the family as the sun was setting and indeed it was clear and visibility was unlimited as you say, bret, as everybody looked forward from there and it's fitting to begin this process here. this is where president bush 41 began his political life in 1966. he was excited to be a freshman congressman on the hill. he had lost one election before winning that election to become a member of congress. he spent four years as a congressman in the house of representatives. he said he loved the house. loveds time there. he would go on to spend 26 years working between capitol hill and the white house and serving his country in that way. his life is really sort of a triangle between new england, and texas, and washington. he was obviously passed in texas and that is where he will end his journey but this moment is for the rest of the country to
be part of and we watched the bush family as they filed out. they are stoic in nature as we noted as we watched them leave but you can clearly see the emotion on the faces in particular of president burb 41 as he leaves, and now, the process of opening this to the american people and opening the doors and that everyone who wants to pay respects to the democratically elected president of the united states will have the opportunity to do just that and people are committed and lined up and wanting to be part of that unique and beautiful process that we're watching unfold tonight. >> bret: a bipartisan event here as you saw the wreaths being laid by the senate majority and minority leader, house majority and -- senate majority and house speaker and members of the united states supreme court in attendance there you see who could be the next speaker of the house, nancy pelosi as she looks on remembering the 41st president. we are going to say goodbye to our fox stations who have tuned
in to this special coverage of remembering president george h.w. bush and now as this continues on fox news channel on cable and satellite, more later, of course, on your local fox news station, i'm bret baier. >> martha: i'm martha maccallum, fox news in washington. >> bret: dana perino, host of "the daily briefing" co-host of "the five" former press secretary for president george w. bush. president bush seemed to be happy to be outside and moving on. your thoughts. >> dana: i am very close to 43. i spent a lot of time as a deputy press secretary and then as press secretary so sometimes you get to know somebody so well, to be honest, bret and
martha, it was hard for me to watch 43 because i could tell he was trying to hold back tears and i don't think it's easy obviously to grieve anyway but certainly more difficult to know when the cameras are on you at all times, of course they know that and they are gratified that people want to come and pay their respects to him and that will continue through the night and through tirm and i do think that the words of people like mcconnell, ryan and pence and the ones that will come wednesday at the cathedral and then in houston on thursday will be moving to the family and help them in their grief, because if you read "41, a portrait of my father" that 43 wrote and if you also read "decision points" "decision points" is president bush's autobiography "it starts "i am the firstborn bon of george h.w. and barbara bush"
and that is how he defined his life so this is a real moment of pause. of course, they knew this was coming, 41 had not been well for a while, of course he had rallied in past years when he hadn't been well but this time he had decided not to return to the hospital, so even though they knew it was coming, of course this loss cuts very deep. >> martha: thank you, dana. let's go to juan williams standing by, juan, co-host of "the five" and fox news analyst, juan, your thoughts as you watched the members of congress, mitch mcconnell, paul ryan take their moment and speak to the family of george h.w. bush. >> it just stands out to me, martha, this is a moment when we are americans. we are one family and we are grieving. this crosses the aisle in a way that i think george h.w. bush practiced as a politician. certainly during his presidency
but even on an international basis, if you recall the tremendous coalition that he put together when we had to go to war to get saddam hussein out of kuwait, again, he was a team builder. a person who would identify mission and then seek solution, compromise, and to me when i heard the reminder that it's almost 30 years since he gave his inaugural address that was going back to january of 1989 and spoke about speaking to us, the american people from the nation's front porch by the u.s. capitol, i was reminded that he was a friend to so many people. that he treated people with such dignity and grace and on a personal level, and i think that's why over the weekend so many people -- and i would include myself here -- were dragging out notes that he had written trying to remember personal moments with him.
certainly history will have so much to say about everything including the start treaty, thinking about the dissolution of the soviet union, the berlin wall, manuel noriega's fall in panama, all of that, but at this moment i just feel on a personal basis -- and i think that's the way america is feeling now -- that we lost a friend, a good man, a neighbor and someone who was all about public service. this is the kind of man you would want to hold up to your children and say, "son, daughter, this is what it means to serve others." you could speak in the christian tradition. you can speak in the tradition of a great american patriot. he fits in every one of those role models, martha, and i think the idea that he had such good friends across the aisle, again, at this moment of political polarization in our country is a heartfelt reminder and it's
almost as if it's a godsend that we have this moment today. >> bret: you will see the public start to go through the capitol rotunda. it will be open very soon. we expect the president and the first lady to make an appearance here before the public comes in. you're right, juan. over the past couple of days, many people have detailed the simple moments, really, that defined president george h.w. bush. each individual having their own note or moment or reflection, his love of family, his faith, his humility, his moral character that defined him and that may be his biggest legacy. we're back with our pam, byron york, chief political correspondent of the washington examiner. byron. >> there were a couple of speeches, one by the vice president and one by mitch
mcconnell that were particularly instructive on why we remember george h.w. bush. i agree that the vice president's speech was a very graceful speech and he went through the facts of his life, and george h.w. bush, when he took office was probably the most qualified american ever to walk into the white house with the house of representatives, c.i.a. director, u.n. ambassador, china and eight years as vice president, but i think vice president pence focused on something as well that people just sensed about him. he said there was a kindness about the man that was evident to anyone who ever met him and i think we have seen many, many testimonials to that. the other thing was mitch mcconnell who focused on what i think people appreciate about the bush presidency. he said he was a steady hand. staying the course. he kept us on course. because you did have this time at the end of the cold war in which everything could have
flown off the axle for all we knew and george h.w. bush did try to keep it on course and finally i do think we need these moments. politics is such a rough business and i'm not really speaking about today's politics. it was really rough in 1988, in 1992 when he ran for president but to see that there, hear "america the beautiful" hear the navy hymn. this is a special moment. >> patrick: "cavu" is "ceiling and visibility unlimited" i think i said unrestricted. my apologies and thank you for your service. mara. >> these are important national moments but not just to celebrate george h.w. bush's character but what lessons could he give us at a time we're all cynically saying we'll come together for a day or two while this event is going on but he
said -- he became friends with bill clinton. bill clinton defeated him and what did he say? he beat me like a drum but we ended up great friends. they went on humanitarian missions around the world. he lived -- he walked the walk. he lived the life that he talked about in terms of the qualities that he most admired. and i think there are a lot of republicans who ad mire george h.w. bush and the path he laid out for his party and i don't know if they're completely ready to give that up so i think that's all things to think about. >> martha: you're all hitting on the notes of humility which was an important part of his character and he talked about his own parents, dana talked about how bush 43 said his story begins with the fact that he's the son of george herbert walker bush and barbara bush and 41 talked about his parents. his mother. what a huge person she was in his life and how much she encouraged humility in him and she said "don't brag about
yourself. listen. spend more time listening than talking." in life. which is a powerful lesson which he clearly took to heart, mark, and took a lot of grief for it. >> are you tough enough to be president? >> martha: those are not qualities that are necessarily rewarded in our society today but it was important to him. >> it's important to realize that while we are burying a president george w. bush is burying a dad and it reminds me of a story when i was in the white house i had just had twin girls and i walked into the oval office, george w. bush, i said "i have twin girls. do you have any advice?" i can't give you all the advice he gave me on the air. >> martha: that sounds interesting. >> he took out two pieces of paper and hand wrote them each a letter dated on their birthday and he told me