On Thursday afternoon, after a night-long viewing at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to give people the opportunity to pay their respects, and a celebration of President George H.W. Bush at the Bush family’s longtime church, 41 embarked on his last journey, a 70-mile-long trip to College Station aboard Union Pacific Locomotive 4141.
When briefed about his funeral arrangements back in 2011, Bush had responded with his usual humility, saying—as spokesman Jim McGrath recalled on Twitter—“Do you think anyone will come?”
But of course we did. In addition to the thousands who lined up for the viewings held in Washington, D.C. and Houston, people, ranging from children as young as 3 to 80-year-old veterans, lined the track waving flags as the train rumbled past carrying the body of the man who steered the country through the end of the Cold War and then came back and lived out the rest of his life with his wife Barbara right here in Houston, their adopted city.
Hozana Arceri photographed the train on its journey for Houstonia, stationing himself at Hufsmith-Kohrville and Hufsmith-Kuykendahl roads in Spring. People unfurled flags from the freeway overpass and wore shirts with the number 41 on them. And as the hour grew close for the train to pass by, even more started coming, pulling out smaller flags to wave, not caring about the moments of hard-driving rain.
After the train carrying Bush's remains had moved by, Arceri told us, those who had thought to put coins and medals down on the tracks quickly scooped the newly flattened pieces up, while others looking for something to commemorate the day picked up rocks from nearby.