Goodbye, Mr. President: Houston Bids Farewell To George H.W. Bush

Home / Goodbye, Mr. President: Houston Bids Farewell To George H.W. Bush

TOMBALL, TX — And just like that, the anticipation of the Bush 4141 locomotive carrying President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place in College Station passed as the train that carried the flag-draped casket of the 41st President of the United States rumbled past onlookers on a cloudy and dreary Thursday afternoon.

About 500 residents from Tomball, Spring, and rural Montgomery County lined a narrow stretch of railroad track that runs beneath the FM 2978 overpass, and past Mel’s Country Cafe, on the way to Pinehurst, Magnolia, and College Station.

A Tomball Fire Department ladder truck guarded the right lane of the overpass as firefighters suspended three American flags from the bridge spanning the railroad tracks that would greet Bush 4141.

While many were there to pay their respects to Bush the president, there was an underlying sense with some that this event was more than just historic.

Among the crowd, which at times huddled beneath the bridge to escape the occasional bouts of rain and wind, were true mourners who lamented the passing of leadership and the eventual demise of the generation Americans have come to call its greatest.

“An era is ending,” Belinda Davis, of Spring, told Patch. ” A generation is leaving us, which is extraordinarily bad. We are really saying goodbye to a whole era of people.”

Jeffie Bridgeman Cappadona, of Tomball, wore a navy blue Bush 41 t-shirt as she shielded herself from the misty rain with an umbrella and she leaned against an electric golf cart she’d driven to the tracks.

Cappadonna, who is originally from Midland and has connections to the Bush family, agreed that Bush’s death signified something more profound.

“If you look at his resume, we will never see anything like this in a leader again, I don’t think,” she said.

The originally sparse crowd that began to arrive by 10:30 a.m. gradually increased to the hundreds. Some scoured the train trestle for rusty railroad spikes, while others placed coins on the top of the rail to be flattened when the Bush funeral train rumbled passed.

Among the men and women who paid their respects were military veterans, some who’d served while Bush was commander-in-chief, and others who served during the Vietnam war.

Scott Reed, a Vietnam veteran, wore his dress blue Navy uniform to pay his respects to Bush.

“The man stood for values that were pure and very good,” Reed said. “He was a politician, but there was that respect you had for the man.”

Reed said he’d worked for the Houston Texans and had the opportunity to meet both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush during their visits with the team.

Reed said when he heard about Bush’s death and the funeral train, he decided to wear his uniform to show respect to a fellow Navy veteran.

For hours, people stood and reminisced about the president who felt more like a friend to so many in the region.

The crowd, which had grown to about 500 by 1:30 p.m., stood by lawn chairs along the tracks and looked east toward the sound of the wailing train whistle. It was time.

As the light on Bush 4141 appeared a quarter mile away, the crowd began waving small American flags, and cheering as if Bush could hear their adoration.

Bush 4141 rushed past the crowd of mourners at about 45 miles per hour. The blue-and-white flash of Bush 4141 merged with the cars that followed.

Crowds cheered Bush 4141 as it passed through Pinehurst, Todd Mission, Magnolia and Navasota.

Two hours later, the casket of one of a beloved American president arrived at College Station where he was laid to rest, and just like that, it was all over.

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Image: Courtesy/Spring Fire Department.

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