tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC December 6, 2018 8:00am-9:01am PST
i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin. george herbert walker bush, the nation's 41st president will soon be laid to rest on the grounds of the bush presidential library in college station, texas. and there you see his oldest son, former president george bush, his wife laura bush, entering this beautiful church, jeb already there. his other sons, his daughter. this is the last of six disof public mourning as well as celebrations of a life come to an end at this final family funeral. this is st. martin's episcopal church in houston. it's where he worshipped frequently in his adopted hometown, and where just seven months ago he buried his beloved wife of 73 years, barbara. following this service there will be eulogies by his best friend and his grandson, and then the late president's body will be taken by special train traveling slowly through towns along the route, finally to the
bush family burial plot at college station at the bush presidential library. with us nbc's gabe gutierrez in houston who has been following these days throughout, and gabe, spectacularly beautiful. there has to be some level here of appreciation of how this has gone over these last six days, how there's been such an outpouring of love for this late president. what are you expecting to see inside the service today, and what have you seen on the ground there? >> reporter: hi, chris. over the last few days we have seen president george herbert walker bush remembered as a statesman, as a world leader. today we're expecting a bit of a hometown feel. as you mentioned his adopted hometown of houston, him remembered as a father and a neighbor. we are expecting a very powerful yule zbeulogy from his good fri baker, former secretary of
state, chief of staff and a eulogy from his grandson. many people from the entertainment world are here, from the sports world. president h.w. bush was a huge fan of the houston texans, the houston astros, and the guest list here already seen coming into the church service is nolan ryan. i'm going to send it back to you, chris. >> if you would, please, turn in your bulletins to page 6. let us sing together with strength, oh, beautiful for spacious skies. ♪ oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain ♪ ♪ for purple mountains imagine
with faith in jesus christ, we receive the body of our brother george herbert walker bush for burial. let us pray with confidence to god, the the giver of life, that he will raise him to the perfection in the company of the saints. deliver your servant george oh, sovereign lord christ from all evil, and set him free from every bond that he may rest with all your saints in the eternal habitations where with the father and the holy spirit you live and reign one god forever and every, amen. let us also pray for all who
mourn, that they may cast their care on god and know the consolation of his love. almighty god, look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom we pray. remember them, lord, in mercy. nourish them with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness. lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace through jesus christ, our lord, amen. please stand.
say the lord, he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live, and who so ever livete and believeth in me shall never die. i know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though this body be destroyed, shall i see god whom i shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger. for none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to
♪ what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ and the rocket's red glare. the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free and
the home of the brave ♪ the lord be with you. remaining standing, let us pray. oh, god whose mercies cannot be numbered, accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant, george herbert walker bush, and grant george an entrance into the land of light and joy and the fellowship of thy saints, that jesus christ thy son and lord who liveth and reignth with thee, the holy spirit one god now and forever, amen.
please be seated for the lessons. a reading from lamentations. the steadfast love of the lord never ceases. his mercies never come to an end. they are new every morning. great is thy faithfulness. the lord is my portion says my soul, therefore i will hope in him. the lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. it is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the lord for the lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love, for he does not willingly afflict or grieve
the sons of man. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. >> today's appointed psalm is psalm 23, the lord is my shepherd. i shall not want. he maketh me to lie down in green pastures. he leadeth me beside the still waters. he restoreth my soul. he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. >> yay, though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil for thou art with me. thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. >> thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. thou anointst my head with oil. my cup runeth over.
character, his life of service, and the sweet memories he leaves for his friends, his family, and for our grateful nation. for more than 60 years george herbert walker bush has been my friend, and he's been my role model. today as we entrust his soul to heaven, his name to history, and his memory to our hearts, i must begin with an apology. heffy, i am about to do something you always hated and that your mother always told you not to do, brag about yourself. i will do this because it must be done and because, as a lawyer, i see that thing beloved by all lawyers, a loophole.
now, don't brag about yourself you once wrote. let others point out your virtu virtues, your go ahead points. well, today, mr. president, i am that other with the special privilege and joy of sharing your good points. as we have heard and as we know, george bush was a charter member of the greatest generation. as we gather here to salute him, his incredible service to our nation and the world are already etched in the marble of time. after becoming the youngest naval aviator he served in increasingly responsible positions on behalf of his country. congressman, ambassador to china, and to the united nations. director of the cia and vice president. then as history will faithfully
record, he became one of our nation's finest presidents and beyond any doubt our nation's very best one-term president. for millions and millions across the globe, the world became a better place because george bush occupied the white house for four years. he was not considered a skilled speaker, but his deeds were quite eloquent, and he demonstrated their eloquence by carving them into the hard granite of history. they expressed his moral character, and they reflected his decency, his boundless kindness, and consideration of others. his determination always to do the right thing and always to do that to the very best of his
ability. they testify to a life nobly lived. he possessed the classic virtues of our civilization and of his phase. the same virtues that express what is really best about this country, the same ideals were known to and they were shared by our founding fathers. george bush was temperate in thought, in word, and in deed. he considered his choices, and then he chose wisely. the berlin wall fell in november 1989, less than one year into his presidency. it was a remarkable triumph for american foreign policy, as joyous east and west germans danced on the remains of that hated wall, george bush could have joined them metaphorically
and claimed victory for the west, for america, and frankly, for himself, but he did not. he knew better. he understood that humility toward and in the humiliation of a fallen adversary was the very best path to peace and reconciliation, and so he was able to unify germany as a member of the north atlantic treaty organization. notwithstanding the initial reservations of france, the united kingdom, and the soviet union. thus, the cold war ended not with a bang but with the sound of a halliard rattling over a pulley on a cold night in december 1991 as the flag of the soviet union was lowered for the very last time.
need we ask about jorgeorge bus courage during world war ii? he risked his life in defense of something greater than himself. decades later when saddam hussein invaded kuwait in august 1990 and began to brutalize kuwaiti's, george bush never wavered. this will not stand, he said, and he got the rest of the world to join him in reversing that aggression. yes, he had the courage of a warrior, but when the time came for prudence, he always maintained the greater courage of a peacemaker. he ended the wars in central america. he signed two nuclear arms reduction treaties, and he brought israel and all of its arab neighbors together face-to-face for the first time to talk peace. his deeds for his fellow man
always spoke for him, give someone else a hand he would say, and he did. when a friend is hurting, show that you care he would say, and he did. be kind to people he would say, and he was. to the parents of a young son who lost -- of a young son lost to cancer he wrote, i hope you will live the rest of your lives with only happy memories of that wonderful son who is now safely tucked in god's loving arms around him. his wish for a kinder, gentler nation was not a cynical political slogan. it came honest and unguarded from his soul. after they left the white house, george and barbara bush continued to display their compassion for others. their dedication to the points
of light, the barbara bush foundation for family literacy, and countless other charities is a model for all former first families, past, present, and future. to these virtues we can add one more source of his character, his family. as a friend once put it, george bush believed that family is a source of both personal strength and the values one needs to face life. and of course history has shown that few families have accomplished as much as his has. barbara wrote the book on how to be a great first lady. his legacy lives on with his children who have contributed so very much to making our nation great, and who knows what the future will bring for his grandchildren and their
children. i've always been proud that george bush used to describe our relationship as one of big brother and little brother. he used to say that one of the things he liked best about me was that i would always tell him what i thought, even when i knew he didn't want to hear it. then we would have a spirited discussion about that issue, but he had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over. he would look at me and he'd say, baker, if you're so smart, why am i president and you're not? he was a leader, and he knew it. my hope is that in remembering the life of george herbert walker bush and in honoring his accomplishments, we will see that we are really praising what is best about our nation, the nation he dearly loved and whose values he embodied.
there is more to say than time permits, and anyway, when measured against the eloquence of george bush's character and life, our words are very inadequate. and so i conclude these remarks with his words written some years ago to his old tennis buddy. we have known each other a long time, he wrote to me, we have shared joy and sadness, and time has indeed gone swiftly by. now it races on even faster, and that makes me treasure even more this line of william butler yates about where man's glory begins and ends, namely with friends. my glory is i have you as such a friend. to which i reply on behalf of his friends here today across america and throughout the world
good morning. today i stand before you as the oldest grandson of the man i simply knew as gampy. george herbert walker bush was the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that i will ever know. we are here to give thanks for his extraordinary life, but i'd like to talk about some of the things that he was thankful for, the things that to him mattered most. my grandfather was thankful for his family. when he began running for president in 1988, my grandfather released a campaign book outlining his views for the future. the book opened with a letter to a grandson. it was addressed to me and recounted some of our recent experiences together in maine. pete, the letter read, i've been thinking about it a lot. the most fun was the big rock boat climbing out on it, watching you and well playing on it. near the end of summer when the moon was full, the tides were
high, there was that special day when it almost seemed like the boat was real. in those few words, my grandfather said more about his life than i could ever tell you this morning. here's a man gearing up for the role of a lifetime, and yet, his mind went back to his family. this is a book about policy issues, and yet, he still found time to write about an imaginary boat that he built with his grandson. in a typical day, he'd wake up around 5:00 a.m. to review security briefings and grab his first coffee of the day. when the coast was clear, all the grandkids would try our best to snag a spot on the bed and nestle up between him and ganny while they read the paper. talking up where the bluefish were running. he'd be the first to host intense horseshoe matchups among family, secret service or any willing head of state. while encouraging trash talk like power outage if your
horseshoe was short or woodrow wilson if you're long and your shoe hit the wooden backstop. his typical spread included barbecue, tacos, tamales, pork resigne rinds with hot sauce with blue bell ice cream and klondike bars. each night gampy challenged all of the grandkids to the coveted first asleep award. in classic gampy fashion he'd write letters of encouragement to us all, whether one of us had a hard semester at school, whether one of us and for the record not me, drove his fidelity onto the rocks, or one of us definitely not me ended up in ganny's cross hairs. i knew too much. at the close of one summer after he left public service, gampy wrote an e-mail to us all saying the only thing wrong with the
last five months is that none of you were here enough. next year promise this old gampster youl spend more time with us here by the sea. as you know i've had to give up fly fishing off the rocks in maine, but there are plenty of wonderful things to do. i just wonder how each of you is doing in school and in life. if you need me, i'm here for you because i love you very much. in the psalms god makes his promise with long life i will satisfy him and show him my salvation. today we know that my gampy did enjoy a long and extraordinary life, and we know he's enjoying the beginning of his next life rejoining those whom he lost but now by grace has found again. my grandfather was thankful for his country. he was grateful to lead a country where people can go as far and as fast as their dreams can take them, a place where individuals working alone or in groups can help the condition of their fellow man on a voluntary basis, a bright hope for america he evoked so brilliantly when he
spoke of a thousand points of light. he often spoke about the timeless creed of duty, honor, country, the values that have sustained the republic for its every 240 years, but this wasn't something he just talked about. this is something he lived. having flown 58 kol bcombat mis in the pacific and having been shot down and rescued at sea, he never saw his own heroism as being any greater than anyone else who has worn uniform. i know this because i've experienced it personally. he was proud when walker joined the marine corp. and prouder when we served overseas. our service never compared to his, yet we could never convince him of that. in our times together, our big wonderful and competitive family saw the personal goodness that led to his recognized historical greatness. he left a simple yet profound legacy to his children, to his grandchildren and to this country. service, undoubtedly when the last words are written on him,
they will certainly include this, that the fulfillment of a complete life cannot be achieved without service to others. you should know that my grandfather was thankful for his god. he once told us grandkids god is good but his love has a cost. we must be good to one another. it was his faith, his love for others that fulfilled him, that drove him, that led him to a life of public service. here in houston at a prayer breakfast he once reflected on his time on the deck of the submarine which rescued him after he was shot down during world war ii. to get some fresh air he went on the deck, stood the watch, looked out in the dark. he said the sky was clear, the stars were brilliant, like a blizzard of fire flies in the night. there was a calm inner peace. halfway around the world in a war zone, a calm inner peace. god's therapy. today after 94 years the heavy
hand of time has claimed the life of my gamps, but in death as in life, my grandfather has won for he has exchanged his earthly burdens for a heavenly home and is at peace. yes, george herbert walker bush is the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that i will ever know, and it's the honor of a lifetime to share his name. god bless you gampy, until we meet again, maybe out on that rock boat we built together.
the first letter of paul to the corinthians. and i will show you a still more excellent way. if i speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels but do not have love, i am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, and if i have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if i have all faith so as to remove mountains but do not have love, i am nothing. if i give away all of my possessions and if i hand over my body so that i may boast but do not have love, i gain nothing. love is patient. love is kind. love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. it does not insist on its own way. it is not irritable or
resentful. it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. love never ends, but as for prophesies they will come to an end. as for tongues, they will cease. as for knowledge, it will come to an end. for we know only in part and we prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. when i was a child, i spoke like a child. i thought like a child, i reasoned like a child. when i become an adult, i put an end to childish ways. for now we see in a mirror dimly but then we will see face-to-face. now i know only in part, then i will know fully even as i have
been fully known. and now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, and the greatest of these is love. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. >> a favorite hymn of the presidents's, eternal father strong to save. we invite you to turn to page 7. we'll sing the first two verses before the gospel, the last two after the gospel.
. the holy gospel of our lord jesus christ according to john. martha said to jesus, lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died, but even now i know that god will give you whatever you ask of him. jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. martha said to him i know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. jesus said to her, i am the
bow your head for a prayer. almighty god, the source of all life, may our eyes and our hearts this day give thanks for this remarkable life. may our eyes and our hearts turn to you as did the heart of this great man. in christ's name i pray, amen. a few days before barbara bush's death i was called to the bush
home, and the president asked me to pray with her. i went and knocked on her door, and barbara answered, hello, russ. i'm not checking out yet. we talked for a bit. i asked permission to anoint her head with oil and pray with her, and we did. we prayed. i left, and then she called me to come back in. bar, are you okay i said? she said yes. just tell him i adore him. today we are gathered to celebrate the life of a man that we all adored. at the beginning of a journey
that began june 12th, 1924, george herbert walker bush was born into the cradle of a loving family that held fast to the values of friendship and family and faith, of integrity, honesty, and loyalty, of character, courage, and service. now at the end of that journey, that cradle that sustained him throughout his 94 years of life has released him into the loving arms of his heavenly father. the end depends on the beginning, and this is a good ending because from the very beginning, george bush was committed to a life not for himself but for others, and so we gather today charged with three tasks saying good-bye, giving our thanks, and lifting up our lives to hope, bidding farewell is the hardest of these
tasks because we must acknowledge that the world is not the same without this great man, the tectonic plates of our world have shifted. in today's world we sometimes recoil at the complex emotions instead of shedding tears of grief that honor our loved ones, tears honor those we love. george bush was never afraid to shed tears, and so today i bid you to follow his example. we also gather to give thanks for the actions of this incredible public servant who improved the lives of so many around the world, across the nation, and in our great state of texas and our beloved city of houston. each of us gathered here today joined untold millions around the globe to mourn the death of one of history's greatest leaders, but we have lost more than a leader.
he, like his wife of over 70 years barbara had that unique ability to make you feel like he was your best friend, and you were his, and he pulled it off with charm and humility and humor with few, if any, rivals. so however you do it today, whether through quiet meditation or tearful remembrance or jub ewe lant story give thanks that his life brushed up against yours. good-bye, thank you, but there is one more thing we come to do, and that is to lift up our lives to hope. what i mean by that, well, president bush was a man of faith, a faith that sustained him in this life and now has brought him new life. the president and barbara bush were devoted and active members of this church, st. martin's for over 50 years. in a talk the president gave here in 1982, he spoke of his
love for saint martins, his memories of teaching sunday school and serving coffee and worshipping here. this is what he said, i remember sitting in the back and how my pew wiggled and shook as our four boys and sometimes dora got the giggles, and then how my pew wiggled and shook as our four boys and dora shook. and so i want to say that i don't know how you can be a angel all in the same year. and when he gave this talk, barbara said, did it occur to you that they both made it because you have just been elected vice president? but there was a deeper purpose in his faith. in an open letter to clergy in
the united states before his inauguration, the president-elect bush wrote worship is basic to my own life. our family has endeavored to uphold our faith by participation in the life of our church. in an address two years into the presidency he recalled president lincoln's response at the height of the civil war when asked if he thought that the lord was on lincoln's side, and lincoln responded that my concern is not whether god is on our side, but whether we are on god's side. make no mistake about it, george bush was on god's side. it is why together we carefully chose the lessons for this service which i hope that you will take home and read and reflect upon it, and the lessons that bespeak of the love of god and the comfort of god and the hope of life eternal given to us through his son jesus christ.
martin of tours is the patron saint of this parish and both known for tearing the clothe in two to cover a barely dressed beggar and he did so impulsively and instinctively knowing that it was the right thing to do and a selfless act. later he found out he had clothed jesus christ, himself. as we worshipped together with george and barbara, they never made a show of arriving or worshipping or leaving. they had a favorite spot, right over there, but if they arrived and someone beat them to it, they never created a problem, and on particularly crowded days easter and christmas, they would
relinquish the seats to a mother overloaded or the young parents. in particular one day, he was net the back with an ush who didn't have a overcoat on. aren't you cold the president asked. oh, i'm fine, but before he could finish his sentence the president whipped off his own coat and placed it around the gent's shoulders and walked in to worship with a smile and without another word. george bush loved our lord and he knew that the lord loved him. it is that connection that birthed in the 41st president a desire to serve a. few years ago the president and discussed his deteriorating health. at the the time he didn't know how that struggle would end. and he put a question to me about as simply as anybody could. he said, well, what do you think that heavens like? it is a confident statement. one that bespoke of a resolute
faith. he didn't want to the know if there was a heaven, or whether he would be there when the end came. he said, he just wanted to know what it was like. he was ready for heaven. and heaven was ready for him. my guess is that on december 30th when the president arrived in heaven that barbara was standing there with her hands on her hips saying what took you so long. but then a big old texas-sized hug from his wife and daughter with the words "we adore you." his very first act after being sworn into office as the 41st president was to the lead our nation in prayer.
and as the end depends upon the beginning, and as we say our good-byes, i want to invite you to the pray in honor and thanksgiving and in celebration of this man that we know and love, this man we adore. would you bow your heads. may your prayer and this was his prayer on the dive hay of his inauguration, the first act of president. heavenly father, we bow our heads and thank you for your love. accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day, and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. make us strong to do your work, willing to heed and hear your will, and write on our hearts
and it is an honor. we first sang for him in october of 1983 on the lawn of the white house when he was vice president and he said, fellas, and he always called us fellas, would you sing me a few songs? i'm a big fan. for decades we have sang for him. and this is, again a real honor to be here and what a lot of people may not know, he fan sid himself to be a good bass singer. he was not. we'll sing for our president. ♪ amazing grace how sweet the sound ♪ ♪ that saved a wretch like me
church we stand to mean what we say, and so together may we recite the apostles creed. i believe in god, the father, al al mighter, maker of heaven and earth and in jesuss christ his only son and lord with who was conceived by the holy ghost and born of the virgin mary and suffered under pontius pilate and was crucified dead and bury and he descended into hell and t the third day he rose again from the dead. he ascended in heaven and s sitteth along the are right side of the god almighty to judge the dead, and i believe in the holy gh