Vacationing couples see Bush funeral procession

Published 2:03 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

What began as just a normal annual vacation to Washington, D.C., for Wendy Weaver, Barry Champion, Melinda and Chris Martin, ended up being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The couples went to D.C. expecting to tour the Capitol and sigh see, but their plans were sidetracked by the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush.

“We went for our annual trip,” Weaver said. “I went once before and wanted to go and see the Capitol again.”

Weaver said that they had reservations to get a tour of the Capitol, but they were canceled because of the funeral.

“It just seemed like everything fell into place for us to be there during the funeral,” Weaver said. “We showed up last Thursday and we got to see everything, but this Wednesday, everything was closed because of the funeral.”

The couples were even able to get a glimpse of the former president’s casket, which was on display.

“We knew that it would take about four to five hours for us to stand in line and look at the casket,” Weaver said. “So we got up around 2:30 a.m., and stood in line. Sure enough, while we were standing there looking at the casket, they had stopped letting people get in line.”

She said that the ambiance of the Capitol was not all that different from when she went to D.C. the last time.

“The security was strong as usual,” Weaver said. “But other than that there was nothing really different about it.”

The couples took a cab to the National Cathedral that morning, and ended up getting a perfect spot outside of the cathedral for the funeral.

“We didn’t know where to go or what to do,” Weaver said. “So we started asking locals where to go. We got in a cab and he dropped us off right outside of the National Cathedral and we were able to stand right out side the entrance and exit of where they were taking the casket.”

They stood outside of the cathedral for three hours during the funeral, each taking turns holding a broadcast of the ceremony on their phones.

“It was a very private, invitation-only funeral,” Weaver said. “So they didn’t have any screens or anything like that for us to look at, but we were each taking turns holding phones looking at the broadcast. It was so freezing, but it was worth it.”

The couples were in such a good spot during the funeral, that former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura waved at them.

“We were right next to where they took his casket in and out,” Weaver said. “So when they were bringing it in, Laura Bush waved at us and then when they were taking it out, George W. Bush waved at us.”

While they were there, the couples were able to see several political figures who attended the funeral, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Condi Rice, and Gen. Colin Powell.

“It was honestly indescribable to be able to see all of those people,” Weaver said. “I mean how many times in your life are you going to be able to see something like this? Just the atmosphere around the church during the funeral and the entire experience was so surreal.”