Barbara Bush was the “first lady of the greatest generation.”
Historian Jon Meacham bestowed the title on Barbara Bush while speaking to former presidents, ambassadors and hundreds of other mourners inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church during her funeral Saturday. He recalled the former first lady’s quick wit, as well as her devotion to promoting literacy, bringing awareness to AIDS patients and to her husband of 73 years.
A eulogy was also given by Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who said her longtime friend was “the secret sauce of this extraordinary family.”
Seated near the front of the church in the same pew were two other former presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump.
Barbara Bush died, with her husband by her side, at their home in Houston on Tuesday at age 92.
Flags were flown at half-mast as the service began as the choir sang “My Country Tis of Thee.” The church was adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons, antique hydrangeas and other flowers.
Other guests included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service.
President Donald Trump isn’t attending to avoid security disruptions and “out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” according to the White House. He released a statement Saturday saying his “thoughts and prayers” are “with the entire Bush family.”