(KPTV) – Former President George H.W. Bush was laid to rest Thursday beside his wife Barbara and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child, and a woman with Oregon roots took part in his farewell.
After a funeral at the Bush family church Thursday, a special Union Pacific train – “Bush 4141” – transported the president from Houston to College Station, where Bush chose as his final resting place.
Bush’s casket was removed from the train in a final ceremony, followed by a 21-gun salute and a U.S. Navy flyover featuring the "missing man" formation; all to honor the man who gave a lifetime of service to his country.
Alyssa Villalobos was a part of the 21-gun salute to the late president as his body arrived at his presidential library, and said the experience was “probably one of the most humbling moments of [her] life.”
A few days earlier, Navy E-4 Villalobos was home on leave in Gaston visiting her family.
Donnie Long, Villalobos’ father, said they “were only allowed to have her here for 24 hours when she got called back to service.”
When Bush died, Villalobos needed to return to Washington D.C. as soon as possible for an important job.
“We work every day together and support each other in Arlington every day, but to know we were selected as a whole to go and render military honors for the 41st president was amazing,” said Villalobos.
She joined the Navy to become an aviation structural mechanic.
While Villalobos was in boot camp, she was selected to interview for the ceremonial guard, which perform ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Going to the White House, I never thought that was going to be something I'd ever do, but I definitely have to thank my parents for everything,” said Villalobos.
Villalobos was the only sailor selected in her division and one of just a dozen selected out of the hundreds interviewed to be a part of the ceremonial guard.
On Thursday, as the 41st president was put to rest, Villalobos was there in uniform, standing proud.
She said she “was definitely nervous. We all pulled together and prayed before. It didn't hit until the flyover happened, the 21 jets that flew over.”
It was a final salute for a president, a military honor to remember. And for her parents back home in Gaston, a moment of pride.
Villalobos was scheduled to return to D.C. Friday morning.
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