Former and current First Ladies of the United States came together on Saturday, April 21, for the funeral of First Lady Barbara Bush. President Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump as well as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton attended the service held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. The women, with the exception of Melania, were accompanied to the funeral by their husbands, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, sitting in a front pew opposite of the Bush family, including Barbara's son former President George W. Bush and his wife former First Lady Laura Bush.
According to The Washington Post, a delegation of first ladies has attended every funeral of another first lady since the 1960s. Melania sat beside Barack Obama during the moving service, which saw a sea of 1,500 mourners dressed in black with pops of blue, Barbara’s signature color. Following the passing of the 92-year-old first lady on Tuesday, April 17, it was confirmed that Barron Trump’s mother would attend the service in Texas “to pay her respects.” President Trump chose to forgo the service to "avoid disruptions due to added security."
VIEW GALLERY Former First Lady Barbara Bush's funeral took place on April 21 in Texas Photo: Getty Images
Following the service, Melania released a statement shared with HOLA! USA saying, "Today the world paid tribute to a woman of indisputable character and grace. It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady. My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family."
Shortly after Barbara's death, the first lady, 47 expressed her sorrow. “Our hearts are with the Bush family as we celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Barbara Bush,” she said. “Throughout her life, she put family and country above all else. Her dedicated service to the American people was matched only by her compassion and love of family.” Melania added, “She was a woman of strength and we will always remember her for her most important roles of wife, mother, and First Lady of the United States. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the Bush family as we honor her legacy.”
VIEW GALLERY The Obamas sat beside current First Lady Melania Trump at the service Photo: Getty Images
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Thinking about Barbara Bush’s legacy of service to our country and the extraordinary family she raised. Thanking her for her many kindnesses to me and my family. Wishing her the comfort she deserves surrounded by her loved ones.”
Laura Bush paid tribute to her mother-in-law by sharing a tender image of Barbara and George H.W. Bush. Attached to the photo, she wrote, “I’m missing my mother-in-law and role model tonight. Barbara Bush was a loving mother and grandmother. The world is poorer without her in it. Rest in peace, dear Bar.”
VIEW GALLERY Former President George W. Bush pushed his father past the Clintons, Obamas and Melania inside the church Photo: Getty Images
During Saturday's funeral that was filled with both laughs and tears, George W. Bush arrived wheeling in his 93-year-old father, President George H. W. Bush, past the former presidents and first ladies who attended to pay their respects. Sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush spoke at the service as well as Jeb Bush, who recalled his mother's parenting ways. The emotional funeral closed with the hymn Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.
Barbara passed away at age 92 on Tuesday, April 17. Her death came only a few days after family spokesman Jim McGrath revealed that the former president’s wife would not seek additional medical treatment after a series of recent hospitalizations. “Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement read.
VIEW GALLERY Barbara Bush's grandchildren spoke during the service including Jenna Bush Hager Photo: Getty Images
Barbara and George were married for 73 years. After the first lady's death, Jean Becker, chief of staff at the Office of George H. W. Bush, shared an update on the 41st President of the United States saying, “He of course is broken-hearted to lose his beloved. Barbara, his wife of 73 years. He held her hand all day today and was at her side when left this good earth.” The statement continued, “Obviously, this is a very challenging time. But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family. He is determined to be there for them as well. He appreciates all the well wishes and support.”
Barbara is survived by her husband, their five children and their respective spouses, 17 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and her brother Scott Pierce. The former first lady was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline “Robin” Bush.