Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018
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A small Texas town is a precious historic moment when Bush's funeral train goes through

Sgt. Ozell Covington of the Grimes County Sheriff's Office ensures that people do not get too close to the railroad tracks while waiting for the Bush funeral train in Navasota, Texas. (Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post) NAVASOTA, Texas – They waited in the rain for hours. Breeders, retirees and wolf cubs standing in the cold under the flag, wait to see the train carrying President George H.W. Bush's coffin through the center of town. Following the funeral service at the Bush Memorial Service at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on Thursday, his coffin was transferred to a wagon with windows on a train equipped with a long-standing Union Pacific locomotive in his honor. "4141 ". The train made a journey of more than 120 km to College Station, where Bush would be buried in his presidential library, through the winter farmland of the state that Bush had acquired such a passion. As president, Bush promised to convey his message of hope and growth "in the most isolated city, in the quietest street in the world." His train was now in small towns in Texas with only a few dozen locals. "Is this happening?" Asked everyone, scrutinizing the tracks, where the inhabitants of Navasota – 8,000 inhabitants – were lined up to block their umbrellas. Few of them remembered the last time a president's coffin had traveled in a funeral train – that was in 1969 with Eisenhower – but all knew that they were witnesses to it. 39; history. "We are losing the last generation of the biggest generation," said Shane Werchan, 46, a sales representative. "It's really the end of an era. We will never see a president like him again.
A young spectator waved an American flag along the road where the coffin of former President George H. W. Bush was traveling aboard the Union Pacific funeral train via Navasota, Texas. (Nick Oxford / Reuters) The Bush train may have been the most exciting thing ever in Navasota, a tiny town built around the railroad and cotton farms in 1854. It's not far from the symbolic heart of the state, Washington the Brazos, where Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836. The picturesque downtown Navasota includes a hardware store selling red carts Radio Flyer, a cafe owned by the mayor, antique shops and a weekly newspaper. Thursday, Mary Fontaine, a Navy veteran who had served in Vietnam with the Waves – or Women accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service – handed flags at the corner of Railroad Street and Washington Avenue, where locals said that the cotton balls were stacked very high. during the beautiful days of the city. This week, the buildings were suspended with red, white and blue rings and a sign stating "President George H.W. Buisson. Thank you for a lifetime of service. "With each flag, Fountain eagerly asked the recipient to" pray for our country "." We need it more than ever "because we are very divided," said Fontaine. "It has brought out the patriotism in all of us, and we must adopt it and keep it upright." Bush, who died Friday at the age of 94, was born in Massachusetts into a wealthy family. He was praised for his patrician grace and sense of duty and service, which included a political career that began in 1966 when he was elected to the House of Representatives and then sent to the United Nations and China. director of the Central. Intelligence Agency and Vice President. But his heart remained in his state of adoption, Texas, where he and his wife, Barbara, moved in 1948 to be able to try the oil industry. The couple returned to live in Houston after their defeat for a second term as president in 1992.

Locals and visitors prepare their cameras as the Bush Funeral Train enters the downtown area of ​​Navasota, Texas. Hundreds of people came to watch the train carrying the casket of former President George H. W. Bush who was crossing the city. (Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post) Corine Licht, 71, a retired Walmart cashier, recalled Thursday that when her house was damaged by a gas explosion, Bush, then a Republican congressman, "was the only person to come help us. "He was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and khaki pants, no suit. He walked around the neighborhood, shook hands with us and asked everyone if they needed anything, "recalls Licht. "I always remembered that." Bush was delighted when Union Pacific unveiled the locomotive in his honor in 2005, painted in blue and white, in the colors of Air Force One, and baptized "4141", a blink of an eye. Eye in its place in history. the 41st president. At the time, Bush had stated that it reminded him of train trips with his family while he was still a young boy, and he even took a turn at the controls. "We have always driven on railways and I have never forgotten it," Bush said at the time. He reacted with similar enthusiasm when his presidential library staff on the Texas A & M University campus spoke of the idea of ​​using the locomotive as part of the funeral, said David Jones, executive director of George HW Bush Presidential Library Foundation. The library had used the locomotive for previous events. Sumptuous funeral trainings have long been part of American history, starting with the 1865 Abraham Lincoln funeral train, which has traveled 1,600 kilometers. Earlier this week, Jim McGrath, spokesman for Bush, said in a tweet that the former president had reacted with "a typical humility" when he had been informed of plans for his funeral in 2011, asking: "Do you think someone will come?"

People wave the train carrying the coffin of former President George H.W. Bush Thursday in Navasota, Texas (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) And, on Thursday, they came. In Navasota, the audience gathered. Among them were schoolchildren who had been released earlier than planned for "the opportunity of their lives," as the headmaster of local schools wrote in a note sent to parents. Among them was James Scoggin, 81, of Katy, a retired second in command of the Navy who,
like Bush, survived by shooting from his plane under fire in battle. "I just came to say thank you," Scoggin said. "I think he's been the best president we've ever had." Scoggin swept his own near-death experience to Vietnam, when he was quickly rescued by a helicopter and was only doing what he had been trained for. "It was not serious," he said. Finally, in the distance, the horns of the train began to moan. Helicopters and a drone flew over. Wet flags, American and Texan, were deployed and residents rushed to the tracks. "USA!! United States!" They chanted, then the train appeared – first the blue and white locomotive, then a string of antique train cars, then a glance Fast on the coffin of a wagon sporting an American flag.The crowd noticed growing louder the crowd who noticed former President George W. Bush staring out the car window behind the casket his father, smiling and waving his hand So whoosh! – the train passed on the final ceremony of the week to the funeral and Donna Orozco, 57, a local resident when she spoke of the day's events, "I feel humiliated," she said, tearing in. "It's probably something we'll never see again."

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