The remarkable photo features four former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush along with first lady Melania Trump and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. The photo was taken Saturday by Paul Morse, a former White House photographer for George W. Bush. Saturday’s funeral for the wife of one president and mother of another offered the nation a deep breath, a moment of quiet reflection, a chance to savor and celebrate a family, a generation, a way of life that feels like it is increasingly slipping away.
Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the Greatest Generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled a Houston church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family.
Speaking during the funeral, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of raising him and his siblings “‘a benevolent dictatorship’ but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.” She was widely admired for her plainspoken style during her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency and was known as “The Enforcer” in her high-powered family.
Jeb Bush said he could feel her presence inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and that she would likely have given him advice: “Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,” he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes.
He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and white-gray hair was “beautiful” until the very end.
Jeb also read a love letter his father sent to his mother on their Marriage Anniversary in 1994 which read; “Will you marry me? Oops! I forgot we did that, 49 years ago.” But when his son continued reading, about how his father grew happier each year spent with his wife, his father smiled, and then closed his eyes and cried. Jeb Bush later hugged his father and kissed him on the cheek.