George HW Bush was celebrated with high praise and loving humor Wednesday as the nation bade farewell to the man who was America's 41st president and the last to fight for the US in wartime. Three former presidents looked on at Washington National Cathedral as a fourth—George W. Bush—eulogized his dad. "To us," the son said of the father, "his was the brightest of a thousand points of light." For all the somber tributes to the late president's public service and strength of character, laughter filled the cathedral time after time as the late president's eulogists—son included—noted Bush's tendency to tangle his words and show his goofy side, reports the AP. Standout lines from the eulogies given for the 41st president:
- Bush was "the last great-soldier statesman, a 20th-century founding father," historian and Bush biographer Jon Meacham said in the first eulogy, in which he recounted Bush's plane being shot down during WWII, Bush bashing his head on the plane as he parachuted out. Meacham said that throughout the rest of his life he nearly daily asked himself why his life had been spared. "And in a sense, the rest of his life was a perennial effort to prove himself worthy of his salvation."
- On a light note, he added that Bush, campaigning in a crowd in a department store, once shook hands with a mannequin. Rather than flushing in embarrassment, he simply cracked, "Never know, gotta ask."