Presidents past and present pay their respects at George HW Bush's funeral

Cameron Pollack  NPR

Brian Mulroney, Canada's prime minister at the time, couldn't help but notice - and ultimately couldn't resist.

The apparent callback to that warm moment in an oft-documented friendship between the two brought a moment of levity to the service celebrating a life well-lived.

"I don't think it's respect for the human being if you talk smack about them, if you say the nastiest things about them, if you treat them as subhuman, and then you want to show up at their funeral".

The atmosphere at the funeral of George H.W. Bush on Wednesday was noticeably chilly as the current president had a rare meeting with his predecessors.

"It was quite a moving site to see the presidents and the first ladies in the front row, waiting to honor President Bush, chatting comfortably with one another", he said.

Following the funeral at St. Martin's, Bush's casket will be taken by train to his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Trump's ascendancy to the head of the Republican Party saw him exchange vitriolic attacks with the Bushes, notably slamming the presidential son's 2003 invasion of Iraq as "one of the worst decisions in the history of our country".

However, he has been remembered as representing an earlier era of civility in American politics, an image burnished in recent years by the divisiveness and anger in the United States that accompanied the rise of President Donald Trump. Trump sat mostly motionless next to first lady Melania Trump throughout much of the service.

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Clinton acknowledged Trump, but they didn't shake hands.

"To us", the son said of the father, "his was the brightest of a thousand points of light".

Trump's relationship with the Bush family has been tense. The lead aircraft has been painted with Bush's name under the pilot's seat and his late wife Barbara's name under the backseater's canopy. And if we're lucky, those people can make us smile.

And he struggled with his emotions as he recounted Bush, a former fighter pilot, showing him a plaque mounted at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, inscribed with the letters CAVU: "ceiling and visibility unlimited", a description of ideal flying conditions. It was inscribed with the letters CAVU: "ceiling and visibility unlimited", a description of flawless flying conditions. [The Obamas] showed respect for the office the way they conducted themselves in office. "And genuinely content with the thrill and promise of each passing day", Mulroney said, referring to notes he made following that Labour Day encounter in 2001.

Members of the Canadian military stood and saluted as Bush's hearse passed the embassy on Pennsylvania Ave.

"Trump saw himself eclipsed by the memory of a superior man and his anti-statesmanship outshined by the disdained values of a presently defunct GOP, whose passing we collectively view with increasing regret", Wilson lectured. "He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism".

Four of them, along with their wives, were seated in a row together. Trump has accused Obama of authoring some of the worst deals the US has ever signed and is now upending his predecessor's legacy, while Obama has sounded off on Trump's policies.

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