(NBC News) – Family and friends of President George H.W. Bush gathered at Houston’s St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Thursday to say goodbye to the man they say was defined by his public service.
“George Herbert Walker Bush was the most decent, humble man I will ever know,” grandson George P. Bush said.
The president’s best friend and former Secretary of State, James Baker, struggled to say goodbye.
“We rejoice to you Mr. President, that you are safely tucked in now and through the ages with God’s loving arms around you,” a tearful Baker said. “Because our glory, George, was to have you as our president and as such a friend.”
As his flag-draped casket left the chapel and adopted hometown of Houston for the last time, thousands lined the streets and train tracks leading to College Station.
A locomotive bearing his name carried the 41st president back to the place he always felt most comfortable, at his wife’s side.
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A second funeral service was held Thursday morning for President George H. W. Bush.
It was held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston where the 41st President and the former First Lady worshipped for more than 50 years.
In addition to hymns, there were several patriotic songs, including the Star Spangled Banner.
Several of President Bush’s grandchildren read from the Bible and George Prescott Bush gave a eulogy.
Another tribute came from former Secretary of State James Baker, who was Bush’s closest friend.
He remembered the former president as a man of great faith, beautiful human being, and his role model.
James Baker, a former Secretary of State said, “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.”
George P. Bush, a grandson said, “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.”
24-hours after the nation paused to honor and remember George H. W. Bush, the 41st president will be laid to rest at his library on the campus of Texas A&M University.
George H. W. Bush is back home Thursday morning.
Special Air Mission 41 dipping low over his presidential library on the late flight to Houston.
After a National Day of Mourning and State funeral in Washington, D.C.
The historic service included laughter and tears.
President George W. Bush said, “The best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief let us smile going that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”
A father, war hero, and president.
Jon Meacham, George H.W. Bush biographer said, “George HW Bush was the last great soldier-statesman, a 20th-century founding father.”
Around 3,000 filling the National Cathedral, including world leaders and every living president honoring him.
Jenna Bush, George H. W. Bush’s granddaughter, “He will dwell with them.”
But it’s the words from his granddaughters that likely would have meant the most to Bush, a humble man with a fierce devotion to family.
A family that this morning will gather to say their own, private goodbyes.
Then his flag-draped coffin will be carried 70 miles by a locomotive bearing his name to his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University.
Returning to the place he loved most, alongside his wife Barbara, reunited in their final rest.