Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
For many people who lined the tracks, it was a President that they either grew up with or knew about living in the State of Texas. But today as the Union Pacific 4141 pulled his remains to College Station, the legacy over the past four days shows the mark he left on America and how much the country really loved this man.
Visiting the Presidential library in College Station on a previous occasion, one could see that Bush and his family legacy throughout the state is a footprint that will never be forgotten, just like the tracks that traverse the 70 mile route from Spring to College Station, the iron will forever be in the minds of those who drive past it or live beside it.
Along all of the 70 miles, mourners lined the tracks and bid farewell — a somber tradition for U.S. presidents that began with President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral but fell dormant in recent decades. Memorial arrangements for the past five presidential funerals have not included riding the rails. Bush’s funeral train procession will be the first since 1969, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was taken by railroad from Washington to his burial place in Kansas.
“It’s more personal with a funeral train,” presidential historian Louis Picone said. “It definitely goes back to a different time.”
Bush who had a liking for trains had the 4141 dedicated to him in 2005 at ceremony where the locomotive was painted just like Air Force One.
Union Pacific who has been known to be one of the best companies to work for former members of the Armed Forces, is also no stranger to paying respects to the community its trains travel through.
As we followed the train from Spring to College Station the people paying respects, waiving American flags and snapping pictures was busting at the seams, so much that a Texas DPD helicopter flying above had to warn people to leave being on the tracks once it arrived in College Station.
For anyone who experienced this day, it is a solemn day, but a way for Americans to take a piece of American History and relive it through pictures and videos for years to come and continue to remind themselves of what an amazing country we live in and the simple things that one day a train passing through town can bring us all together for a 2.5 hour timeframe and forget about all other things.
Great work to all of those at Union Pacific who made this happen and the in the Bush family who allowed for all of us Americans to come into their life for a few hours to pay respects to great American citizen who gave it his all for the USA.