This question has been asked a lot this week: Can we count the passing of President George H. W. Bush as some schooling?
Absolutely! Since his death was announced the nation began looking back over the life and the legacy of the late president. Over the course of the last week there has been a lot of history recapping. Not to mention the history that was being made through out this week leading up to the funerals.
- Did you know? -
On the very first day of office
when the elected President
begins to work, one of the first
orders of business is to sit down
and plan out their funeral arrangements.
In our house alone we paused and took the week to focus on the life and legacy of our 41st President. We followed the media and latest news, documentaries and listen to the stories being shared from those closest to the president. I shared my own personal stories from growing up and the letter I received from him when our class had to write an essay about the campaign First Lady Barbara Bush started, 'Just Say No to Drugs.' How many of you remember that? My essay was chosen a long with a few others and each of us received a personal letter from the President thanking us and encouraging us while praising our essays.
Listen, what better way to learn history then to learn it hands-on. Being a part of and witnessing first hand as things play out. Years from now your kids will look back and say I remember where I was that moment... This is why I always stand by and will advocate for hands-on learning. Even some of the public schools in Texas bussed their children to route locations the train would be traveling so the children could witness history as well as pay respect to the late President. Clearly this is considered a lesson for history. So if you paused to celebrate the life, legacy and history of the late President, understand you and your family was and is still participating in school lessons. Learning does not stop once you leave the classroom...
A nation bids farewell.
41st President of The United States of America
George Herbert Walker Bush
On Friday, November 30, 2018, the news broke that the 41st President of the United States had died. News swept across the nation and many began to reflect back on the life and legacy of President George H. W. Bush. Nearly eight months after the passing of his wife, the late First Lady (41) Barbara Bush, they now were back together for eternity.
On December 1, 2018 a proclamation was issued and later signed by the 45th President of the United States, President Donald J. Trump declaring that Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 would be a National Day of Mourning. All flags would be ordered to half-staff for thirty days in honor of the former President while on Wednesday all Government buildings would be closed for the nation to mourn the passing of former President George H. W. Bush. The Proclamation excerpt included that Air Force One would be designated by President Donald J. Trump to be used for a special mission that would be called "Special Mission 41".
'Special Mission 41' would consist of the use of Air Force One departing round trip from Washington to Houston, Texas where the former Presidents remains as well as the entire family would be loaded aboard and transported back to Washington D. C. From there his remains would be transported to the State Capitol Rotunda where it would lay in state from Monday, December3, 2018 to the evening of Tuesday, December 4, 2018 for the public to come and pay their respects.
"Mission Complete." Sully the former Presidents service dog lay
guarding his masters casket. Sully would later stand watch a final
time on the evening of Tuesday, December 4, 2018,
where he would then bid his master farewell one last time.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, The former President would be transferred from the State Capitol Rotunda to The Washington National Cathedral where the Presidential Funeral would take place. He would later depart the Cathedral and be escorted back to Air Force One for the finalization of 'Special Mission 41' which would transport the former President and his family back to Texas for the final funeral and burial at the Bush Presidential Library.
The Presidential funeral brought a handful of world leaders that knew the former President well including Prince Charles who was there on behalf of Queen Elizabeth who had her own health concerns. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama as well as our current President Donald J. Trump and their spouses attended. Also amidst the funeral were current Vice President Mike Pence and other former Vice Presidents, their wives, Congress and many more attended in the celebration services of the Presidential Funeral.
President George Herbert Walker Bush life and legacy was celebrated in a beautiful ceremony that included a eulogy by his son and former 43rd President George Walker Bush. Read the full eulogy by President George W. Bush here. The ceremony was a beautiful tribute to the life and legacy of the former commander in chief. There is much to highlight about the ceremony, the stories of the brave WWII hero, his loyalty to friends and family and finally his presidency, but I will let you read more about that here.
Probably the greatest thing of all that stood out to me about the former President was the role and model of LEADERSHIP. He certainly was a great leader to his family, friends and to his country. Despite any difference in opinion he may of had with many around him he still modeled 'love and respect' towards everyone. Something I think we all could learn a little more about today and model for each other. There were many great stories shared about his life and the legacy he was leaving behind during the Presidential funeral. Despite any difference in opinion one must agree this was a great Presidential leader that made his mark on history and would continue to do so even in death.
Watch the emotional eulogy from former Secretary James Baker
As the remains of the former President and his family departed the Capitol to return to Houston for the final farewell services the remaining details would unfold noting that the former President would make his mark in history again. On Thursday, December 6, 2018 the final farewell would begin in Houston where Texans would have their chance to say their good-byes to the former President. Family, close friends along with the former Presidents favorite musicians The Oak Ridge Boys and Reba McEntire paid their final tribute and respect as they bid the 41st President farewell.
After the funeral in Houston was over the remains of the former President would be escorted along with his family to the Union Pacific facility north of Houston where the former President and his family would take a 70 mile train ride to College Station. After departure at College Station he would then be escorted up the street to the Presidential Library on the University of Texas A&M for a private burial ceremony for the family.
About the Train: So what do we know about the special locomotive that will be transporting our former president? The train transporting the former 41st and 43rd President along with family is the Union Pacific Locomotive. This particular locomotive was made in Bush's honor and it was unveiled near his library as part of an exhibition in 2005. The train has the words "George Bush 41 Presidential Library and Museum" and also has the presidential seal printed on its side. Not only that the locomotive is painted like the presidential airplane, Air Force One. This particular train has been working across the country since 2005 hauling freight. The 'Special Mission' of the 'Locomotive 4141' will be to transport the remains of the former 41st President George H. W. Bush as well as the former 43rd President George W. Bush and the family to College Station where he will be escorted to his final resting place at the Bush Presidential Library. This train will consist of two-locomotives and a 11-car train.
The route the train will take
Former President George H. W. Bush would be the first president in almost 50 years, since President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1969, to make the final journey home by train. The former president was very involved with the railroad and shared often about the memories he had traveling with his family on trains. Having this particular train transfer him to his final resting place only seemed fitting since he knew this particular route well and enjoyed traveling the country side between Houston and College Station. This particular route would also allow residents in the area to pay their respects as the train passed by.
Take a look inside the Bush Locomotive 4141
Although we personally were not there we did record some of the weeks tributes and ceremonies to have for our own records and historical documentation. Parts like the trains transfer ceremony, departure and arrival ceremony, the Missing Man formation and Fly Over both, were important parts of history. Again noting it has been almost 50 years since the last President elected to use a train as a part of their funeral. Also noting that there has never been a 21 Air Craft Missing Man formation fly over ever recorded in military history. (The video of the formation is below, have a tissue in hand). Also noting that on the missing man air craft, the third plane, it notes President George H. W. Bush as pilot and Barbara Bush as co-pilot, honoring both the former President and First Lady. A very beautiful week long celebration of a life well lived.
The departure of the former President for College Satation
So as you can see from this post, there is a great deal of history going on here this week as we remember our 41st President and bid him farewell. Below are some other resources about the events that unfolded honoring the former president.