Queen leads tributes to 'our friend' George HW Bush

College Station: Flags flew at half-staff across the United States on Saturday as Americans prepared for a week of solemn tributes to George HW Bush, in his home state of Texas and in the US Capitol, a day after the former president died aged 94.

Soon after he reached the zenith of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, the USA economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great orator, was out of touch with ordinary people.

When he was running for re-election in 1992, President George H.W. Bush told Catholic News Service that he believed that a strong religious faith could provide "an extra shot of strength when you need it".

"A war hero, accomplished statesman, great President, supporter of charitable endeavors, enthusiastic adventurer (skydiving at age 90) and a true American patriot - we are grateful for your life and devotion to serving our Nation".

The elder Bush's longtime friend and former secretary of state, James Baker, was quoted describing the departed leader's final hours in the New York Times on Saturday.

"I'm watching you do your impression of me, and I've gotta say it's nothing like me", Bush said in the clip. Bush father and son were both part of the pregame ceremonies before game five of the 2017 World Series in Houston, the penultimate game in the Astros' championship win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was also being treated for a form of Parkinson's disease.

Jeb Bush, who built his career in Florida rather than the East Coast or Texas, also brought a multiculturalism to the family that didn't serve him well in a nationalistic-minded 2016 campaign dominated by Trump but another dimension to the Bush clan.

Zakhem and Bush
Zakhem and Bush

"Dear Bill", George H.W. Bush scribbled January 20, 1993, to the Democrat about to succeed him as president. That catapulted him into public service as he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Congress, serving two terms before a failed U.S. Senate bid.

Born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts into a wealthy political dynasty, Bush left school to join the US Navy during World War II.

Bush was an old friend of the Chinese people who had witnessed and promoted the historic development of China-U.S. relations in the past more than 40 years, and contributed to the friendship between the two peoples, which the Chinese people will not forget, Xi said in the message.

The White House announced Bush will be honoured with a state funeral and said President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend a service at Washington's National Cathedral. "The result was the end of the Cold War and nuclear arms race". "I love you, too", Bush replied.

They were 22 years apart - Clinton, 72, Bush, 94.

In recent years, Bush suffered from numerous health problems, including Parkinson's disease that kept him wheelchair bound and a bout of severe pneumonia in 2013.

"We were fortunate to host him at Notre Dame on five occasions, and in each instance, the honor was ours", said Father Jenkins said in a December 1 statement. His wife Sarah once worked for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

Vanessa Coleman