The state funeral procession for George HW Bush came through Grimes County last Thursday. It was the first state funeral since Gerald Ford’s procession in 2006. And in all likelihood, it is the last time Grimes County will see a state funeral procession.
We got out to talk with folks from the Navasota area and beyond about what the president means to them, and what this event means to a town like Navasota.
Bill Thomas from Trinity, Texas talked about it first and he said they came simply wanted to pay their respects.
“Well, he just seemed like a really down to earth guy. He used to sit in front of us at the rodeo…so we used to see him every year. Anyway, he just seemed like a nice guy and we wanted to come out and pay our respects and we figured Navasota was a good town to come to,” Thomas said.
Navasota resident, and owner of Muddy Water Bookstore, Suzie Linnenbank said that the energy around town for the trains passing was a sight to behold.
“I am so excited to have folks from out of town wandering the streets of Navasota…it is so monumental to this city. We are never going to see this again. The energy here is beautiful, it is amazing. And I am very happy to be part of it,” said Linnenbank.
The mood during the trains passing was somber. All in all, a few thousand toughed out the rain and the cold to see the presidents procession pass. Things remained mostly quiet and some members of the crowd saluted at the family passed.
Midland, Texas resident Bruce Day said that driving almost 8 hours to honor the president is a small price to pay.
“This guy is a war hero. He has done more than any man, before or since then, to influence my life and my way of life. So, to come down here, take my cap off and bow my head when he goes by in the rain is no big deal for me,” Day said smiling.
Residents from all over the state were in Navasota, from Schulenburg to Midland to Dallas.
Sarah Jennings from Bluebonnet Collectibles in Navasota said it is a special day for the city and an event that her children will be able to talk about for years to come.
“It is just a wonderful thing,” Jennings said. “All my five children will be out there watching as the train passes by. And they will be able to tell their children about it. It is just a great day to be a Navasota resident.”
The train passed at about 2:30 pm through Navasota. The 41st president was interred in a private ceremony last Thursday at the George Bush Library in College Station. The library and grave site are now open for visitation.