HOUSTON ― Former first lady Barbara Bush was remembered on Saturday as a sharp-tongued but caring figure whose devotion to her family was matched only by her commitment to public service. A message sent by the White House earlier this week said he would not attend "to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service".
Meacham told how Barbara Bush's hug of an HIV/AIDS patient "sent a powerful image, one of compassion, of love and of acceptance", and who she believed literacy was the "fundamental civil and human right".
Obama and Clinton will join former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush at the funeral. Follow along with the full program for the service Following the funeral service, the Bush family will proceed by motorcade to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas for a brief, private interment ceremony.
Bush had been battling congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and refused further medical treatment in the days before she died.
In their remarks, Meacham and Baker emphasized Bush's role as a mother and grandmother, with Baker describing her as a "tough but loving enforcer" whose 73-year marriage to her husband was a real-life fairy tale. Sitting presidents have rarely in recent decades gone to the funerals of former first ladies, according to FactCheck.org, a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia.
On Friday, a total of 6,231 people stopped by the church to pay their respects. President George W. Bush did not attend Lady Bird Johnson's funeral in 2007.
St. Martin's Episcopal Church bills itself as the largest Episcopal church in the country, but when George H.W. and Barbara Bush started attending, they were a congregation of just a few hundred worshipers. George P. Bush Jeb Bush, Jr.
Numerous women who came to pay their respects wore Barbara Bush's favorite color, blue, and strands of pearls in tribute to Mrs. She will be laid to rest next to her daughter Robin, who died of leukemia when she was three years old.
Thousands of people on Friday paid respects to Barbara Bush, wife of the nation's 41st president and mother of the nation's 43rd.
Barbara Bush was to be buried in a private service at Texas A&M University, on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.