Klein ISD Honors Former President
December 11, 2018
On a cool, rainy, and dreary day last week, thousands of people across the area braved the elements to have the chance to witness history and pay their final respects to former president George HW Bush.
Members of the Klein Community gathered near Klein Oak High school Dec. 6 to watch as a special train carrying the flag draped casket of the former commander in chief passed through the northern part of the district on its way to College Station for a private burial service.
Bush passed away Nov. 30 in Houston at age 94. He was flown to Washington D.C. for a state funeral Monday and returned to the Lone Star state Wednesday for an additional funeral and burial on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
“It’s a historical event that you may never see again in your lifetime because Bush is the first one since[president] Truman that decided to go on a train,” community member Stephanie Swinford said.
The Union Pacific No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive was unveiled in October 2005, during a ceremony near the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. The custom-painted locomotive incorporates the colors of the Air Force One used during Bush’s presidency and symbolizes national pride and strength, according to Union Pacific. It bears the number 4141 in honor of the 41st president.
“I feel proud, but I am glad to be here to pay my respects to a great man,” Community member James Mullen said. “Being the president was pretty inspiring because I am an Aggie, so having his presidential library at A&M is very inspiring. “
The Klein ISD police department, Air Force JROTC cadets from Klein Oak High School, as well as students and faculty from four campuses lined the train tracks or nearby fences as the train sped through. Some held signs or waved American flags as they signaled to the Bush family members aboard the train. The Klein Oak band played Hail to the Chief.
“I believe it’s a testament to the good in this country, that people still believe in the values and come out,” Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly said. “Bush was a commander in chief, so we owe him gratitude.”
Students from all across the district were given the opportunity to view the train passing through via the Klein ISD live streaming web page.
“To read about history is not the same as experiencing it and being a part of it, even if you’re just watching it online you’re still becoming a part of history, his life, his legacy and his train will go down in history,” Principles of Heath Science teacher Christina Cope said.
Kimberly said the day consisted of many different emotions, but noted it was a historical moment that he was happy to be able to see.
“It was very moving. It’s a once in a lifetime deal as sad as it is, it’s still once in a lifetime thing that you need to stop and consider that presidential escorts like this are processions that are very rare. I am proud to honor his legacy,” he said.