With American flags and signs of support in hand, hundreds of community members and students packed the sidewalks along George Bush Drive and Texas Avenue Saturday to pay their respects to former first lady Barbara Bush.
Following a funeral service in Houston at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Barbara Bush was driven to College Station Saturday afternoon for a private burial ceremony at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library. The motorcade procession was greeted by over 750 students in the Corps of Cadets upon its arrival at the library.
Brad Sauer, 2017-2018 Corps Commander, assembled the team of volunteer cadets who greeted Barbara Bush’s procession. Sauer said he was proud of everyone for their enthusiasm and willingness to get involved. The Corps surpassed their goal of 750 volunteers within one day.
“If I can give a service to a family that’s provided so much for this nation, something as small as just giving a hand salute as they drive by, if that somehow brings them comfort, the entire family in their time of grieving and mourning, then I would do it a thousand times,” Sauer said.
Outgoing student body president Bobby Brooks said he is grateful for the contributions Barbara Bush and her family have made to Texas A&M over the years.
“We’re really lucky to have had the Bush family kind of take us under their wing in a lot of different ways,” Brooks said. “They’ve just been constant stewards of charity and love and emotion and all these good things that we’ve really benefited from.”
Barbara Bush’s fearlessness to stand for what she believed in is something Brooks said he will never forget.
“To me, Barbara Bush was what was right with American politics in a lot of different ways because she really wasn’t afraid to speak her mind on a lot of different issues and she wasn’t afraid to stick to her guns in certain situations,” Brooks said.
Cynthia Brown, director of finance for Experience Bryan-College Station, said she took her grandson to view the motorcade to pay their respects and to expose her grandson to the historic event.
“It’s a sad occasion, but it’s a good occasion,” Brown said. “I’ve seen all week how the community has joined together in this to make sure everything was taking care of.”
Viewing the procession was a chance to show support to the Bush family in a time of sorrow, according to Dale Cope, associate professor of practice for mechanical engineering and Class of 1982.
“I served under president Bush when I was in Desert Storm and they’ve been part of our life for many years,” Cope said. “The dedication they’ve had to each other and the family’s been an inspiration and so I wanted to show our respects to them.”
Viewing the motorcade was more than an opportunity to express condolences, according to forestry junior Ryan Delgado.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience to actually be there when a former first lady is buried, and especially at a place like your own campus,” Delgado said.
Warren Finch, Director of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, has worked with Barbara Bush on programs for the library throughout the years and attended her funeral in Houston Saturday morning.
“It was very well done, it’s a great celebration of a wonderful lady and someone who was very involved in this community,” Finch said. “I think it’s fair to say that she was very beloved in the Bryan-College Station community and here at Texas A&M. They talked about her community service, her literacy efforts and it’s just a wonderful way to celebrate her life.”