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小布殊笑淚交織送別父親


小布殊致悼辭時一度哽咽。美聯社
國葬儀式在國家大教堂舉行。美聯社
特朗普夫婦(左起)與奧巴馬和克林頓夫婦。美聯社
前總統卡特夫婦。美聯社
德國總理默克爾(前)到華府國家大教堂參加國葬儀式。美聯社
特朗普與奧巴馬握手。美聯社

美國前總統小布殊周三在笑淚交織之中送別父親老布殊,在華盛頓國家大教堂舉行的國葬儀式上,他致悼辭時說到人們會懷念父親的正直、真誠與善良。十二分鐘長的悼辭最後部分,小布殊哽咽說,願「最棒的父親」和早夭妹妹以及不久前去世的母親團聚。

老布殊上月30日逝世,享年94歲。國葬儀式上,現任總統特朗普及第一夫人梅拉妮婭,以及前總統奧巴馬、克林頓、卡特都偕同夫人出席。

以下是中央社翻譯的小布殊悼辭全文:

敬愛的嘉賓們,包括總統與總統夫人、政府官員、國外政要、朋友們,以及我們的家族,感謝您們參加今天的儀式。

我曾聽人說,人應該「死於英年,但越晚越好」。

在85歲時,喬治.赫柏特.華克.布殊最喜愛的消遣是駕着他的愛船「忠貞號」,催足3具300匹馬力引擎的油門飛馳-愉快地飛馳-在大西洋上,然後特勤局隨扈的船吃力地跟着。

90歲時,老布殊從飛機上跳傘,降落在緬因州肯尼彭克港聖安海濱教堂旁的地面,那裡是他母親結婚及他常去禮拜的地方。媽常說爸會選那個地方降落,是以防萬一降落傘打不開。

在他90幾歲時的某天,老友貝克偷偷帶了一瓶灰雁伏特加到他的病房時,他簡直開心死了。顯然這瓶酒跟貝克帶來的莫爾頓牛排超搭。

在最後的時日裡,爸爸的生命極具啟發性。隨着年邁,他教會我們如何老得有尊嚴、幽默和善良,並教我們當主來最後召喚時,如何帶着勇氣和喜悅在應許的國度見祂。

爸爸知道如何以保有年輕心境離開,是因為兩次的經驗。他還是青少年時,有次葡萄球菌感染差點要了他的命;幾年後,他一度孤伶伶地在救生艇上,漂浮於太平洋,祈禱救援人員能比敵軍早一步發現他。

上帝回應了這些祈禱,原來祂對老布殊另有安排。對於父親,我想這些與死神擦肩而過的經歷讓他珍惜生命之禮,他也誓言要以最充實的方式度過每一天。

爸爸總是很忙-經常閒不下來的人-但絕不會忙到無法與周遭人分享他對生命的熱愛。他教我們要熱愛戶外活動。他喜歡觀看狗兒驚飛群鳥、喜歡釣難以捉摸的線鱸;在需以輪椅代步時,他似乎最喜歡坐在華克角後門廊上他最喜歡的位置,凝視大西洋的壯麗。他所望去的視野光明、充滿希望。他是真的很樂觀的人。而這種樂觀也引導着他的孩子,讓我們每個人都相信任何事都是有可能的。

他不斷以大膽的決定擴充視野。他是位愛國者,高中畢業後,他選擇暫時不升大學,在二次世界大戰爆發之際去當海軍戰機飛官。與許多同齡者一樣,他從不談服役生涯,直到成為公眾人物時才不得不提起。我們知道他所參與對父島的攻擊任務,他在那次任務被擊落;我們後來知道他的戰友們犧牲,他這輩子都在思念這些人,而我們也知道他後來獲救。

後來他又做了一次大膽決定。剛成家不久就舉家從舒適的東岸遷至德州的敖德薩,他跟母親很快就適應周遭不毛之地的環境,他是個很有忍耐力的人。畢竟他人很好,在我們小小雙拼屋中與母親、我及鄰居婦女共用廁所,即便知道她們的職業-風塵女子,也很敦親睦鄰。

爸爸能與各行各業的人打交道,能對他人感同身受。他重視品性勝於出身,他不是憤世嫉俗的人,他會去看每個人的長處,且經常都能找到優點。

爸爸教導我們,服務公眾是崇高且必須的,一個人可以誠信服務並堅持重要價值觀,如信仰和家庭。他堅信回饋社會與國家至關重要,他體認到施比受更有福;對我們而言,他就是最亮的明燈。

成功時,他總把功勞歸給旁人;失敗時,他一肩承擔。他覺得失敗也是人生的一部分,但教導我們永不向失敗低頭,他向我們展現,挫折能讓人更堅強。

沒有什麼事比得上他人生最沉重打擊之一,就是失去幼女。當時我跟杰布還太小,記不得三歲妹妹夭折時,他與母親是如何的哀痛。我們是後來才得知,虔誠的爸爸每天都為她禱告。他獲上帝與母親真誠而持久的愛支持。爸爸始終相信,有朝一日能再次擁抱他寶貝的羅賓。

他很愛笑,尤其是自嘲,他會逗弄人,但從不出於惡意。他能藉一個好的玩笑展現良善價值,這就是為何他選辛普森致詞。

在通電郵時,他有一個朋友圈,專門分享或取得最新的笑話。他依笑話優劣分等級,稱為「經典布殊制」,罕見的七、八級就是大贏家,但大部分是黃色笑話。

老布殊知道如何當個真誠與忠實的朋友,他的慷慨與大方豐富了諸多友誼。他曾親筆寫了數以千計的便條,內容是鼓勵或感謝朋友與認識的人,或是表達慰問。

他有驚人的付出能力。許多人會告訴大家,父親成為他們生命中的導師或長輩角色,他會傾聽,給予安慰,儼然他人的好朋友。我想羅茲、布蘭頓、南茲、阿諾舒華辛力加都是,大概最不可能的、當年大選擊敗他的克林頓也是。我跟兄弟姊妹提到這群人時,都說他們是「異母兄弟」。

他教導我們,即便是一天也不應浪費。他打高爾夫速度之快,非常有名。他打得很好,因此我老是搞不懂,為何他一定要打極速高爾夫。

我的結論是:他想快快打完,這樣就能趕下一場活動,享受當天剩下的時光、消耗他充沛的精力,什麼都不要錯過。他生來只有兩個設定:一是全速前進,二是睡眠模式。

他教導我們,當個好父親、好祖父、好曾祖父的意義。當我們開始尋找自己的路時,他會堅持他的原則並給予支持。他會鼓勵與安慰,但從不下指導棋。我們曾測試他的耐心,我知道我這樣幹過,但他總以無條件的愛做為回應。

上周五,當我被告知他時間不多時,我打電話給他。接電話那頭的人說「我想他能聽得見你,但他幾乎一整天都沒說話」,於是我說「爸,我愛您,您是最棒的父親」,而他在世上說的最後一句話是「我也愛你」。

對我們而言,他近乎完美,但不是百分百完美。他短桿打得很爛;他的舞技輸佛雷亞斯坦滿多的;他這人不愛吃蔬菜,尤其是花椰菜;附帶一提的是,他還把這些缺點遺傳給了我們。

與母親結褵73載的每一天,爸爸教導了我們當個好丈夫的意義何在。他娶了至愛的甜心,對她又敬又愛,兩人一同笑淚,他把一切都奉獻給了她。爸爸晚年喜歡看警匪片重播,音量開很大,然後一直牽着媽媽的手。媽媽過世後,爸爸很堅強,但他最想做的就是再次牽着媽媽的手。

當然,爸爸教了我其他的特殊經驗。他讓我知道當總統要有誠信、領導者要有勇氣,以及內心帶着對國家人民的愛來行事的意義。當史書開始下筆,他們會說老布殊是偉大的美國總統、無與倫比的外交家、有着傲人成就的統帥,以及一位帶着尊嚴與榮耀任事的紳士。

在成為美國第41位總統的就職演說裡,他說道:「我們不能只希望留給後代一部大車、滿是錢的銀行帳戶。我們必須灌輸他們當個忠實朋友、慈愛父母的意識,並讓他們知道離鄉終究比不上自家。我們希望當離開後,曾與我們共事的男男女女會如何評價我們?我們要爭的是比周遭的人更有成就,還是停下來問一個生病的孩子是否有好轉,並在那裡停留片刻以換取一段友誼?」

總之,爸爸,我們會記得您所做的一切甚至更多。

我們會很懷念您。您的正直、真誠與慈祥的靈魂將永遠與我們同在。透過我們的眼淚,讓我們了解到,認識和敬愛您所獲得的祝福,一位偉大、高貴的人,以及兒女眼中最棒的父親。

就讓我們在悲痛中,以微笑來看着爸爸正抱着羅賓及再次牽起母親的手。

致悼辭後,小布殊輕拍父親靈柩。美聯社
軍方儀仗隊把靈柩移出國家大教堂。美聯社
靈車經過白宮。美聯社

以下是小布殊悼辭的英文原文:

Distinguished guests, including our presidents and first ladies, government officials, foreign dignitaries and friends, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I and our families thank you all for being here. I once heard it said of man that the idea is to die young, as late as possible.

At age 85, a favourite pastime of George H.W. Bush was firing up his boat, the Fidelity, and opening up the three 300-horsepower engines to fly — joyfully fly — across the Atlantic with the Secret Service boats straining to keep up.

At age 90, George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an aircraft and landed on the grounds of St Ann's by the Sea in Kennebunkport, Maine, the church where his mum was married and where he worshipped often. Mother liked to say he chose the location just in case the chute didn't open.

In his 90s, he took great delight when his closest pal, James A. Baker, smuggled a bottle of Grey Goose vodka into his hospital room. Apparently, it paired well with the steak Baker had delivered from Morton's.

To his very last days, Dad's life was instructive. As he aged, he taught us how to grow with dignity, humour and kindness, and when the good Lord finally called, how to meet Him with courage and with the joy of the promise of what lies ahead.

One reason Dad knew how to die young is that he almost did it, twice. When he was a teenager, a staph infection nearly took his life. A few years later, he was alone in the Pacific on a life raft, praying that his rescuers would find him before the enemy did.

God answered those prayers. It turned out He had other plans for George H.W. Bush.

For Dad's part, I think those brushes with death made him cherish the gift of life, and he vowed to live every day to the fullest.

Dad was always busy, a man in constant motion, but never too busy to share his love of life with those around him.

He taught us to love the outdoors. He loved watching dogs flush a covey. He loved landing the elusive striper. And once confined to a wheelchair, he seemed happiest sitting in his favourite perch on the back porch at Walker's Point, contemplating the majesty of the Atlantic.

The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful. He was a genuinely optimistic man, and that optimism guided his children and made each of us believe that anything was possible.

He continually broadened his horizons with daring decisions.

He was a patriot. After high school, he put college on hold and became a navy fighter pilot as World War II broke out.Like many of his generation, he never talked about his service until his time as a public figure forced his hand. We learned of the attack on Chichi Jima, the mission completed, the shoot-down. We learned of the death of his crew mates, whom he thought about throughout his entire life. And we learned of the rescue.

And then another audacious decision: He moved his young family from the comforts of the East Coast to Odessa, Texas. He and Mum adjusted to their arid surroundings quickly. He was a tolerant man. After all, he was kind and neighbourly to the women with whom he, Mum and I shared a bathroom in our small duplex, even after he learned their profession — ladies of the night.

Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. And he was no cynic. He looked for the good in each person, and he usually found it.

Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary, that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family.

He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. He recognised that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of the thousand points of light.

In victory, he shared credit. When he lost, he shouldered the blame. He accepted that failure is a part of living a full life, but taught us never to be defined by failure. He showed us how setbacks can strengthen.

None of his disappointments could compare with one of life’s greatest tragedies, the loss of a young child. Jeb and I were too young to remember the pain and agony he and Mum felt when our three-year-old sister died. We only learned later that Dad, a man of quiet faith, prayed for her daily. He was sustained by the love of the Almighty, and the real and enduring love of our mum. Dad always believed that one day he would hug his precious Robin again.

He loved to laugh, especially at himself. He could tease and needle, but never out of malice.

He placed great value on a good joke. That’s why he chose Simpson to speak.

On email, he had a circle of friends with whom he shared or received the latest jokes. His grading system for the quality of the joke was classic George Bush: The rare sevens and eights were considered huge winners, most of them off-colour.

George Bush knew how to be a true and loyal friend. He nurtured and honoured many — his many friendships — with a generous and giving soul.

There exists thousands of handwritten notes encouraging or sympathising or thanking his friends and acquaintances. He had an enormous capacity to give of himself.

Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. He listened and he consoled. He was their friend.

I think of Don Rhodes, Taylor Blanton, Jim Nantz, Arnold Schwarzenegger and, perhaps the unlikeliest of all, the man who defeated him, Bill Clinton. My siblings and I refer to the guys in this group as brothers from other mothers.

He taught us that a day was not meant to be wasted. He played golf at a legendary pace. I always wondered why he insisted on speed golf. He was a good golfer. Well, here’s my conclusion: He played fast so that he could move on to the next event, to enjoy the rest of the day, to expend his enormous energy, to live it all.

He was born with just two settings: full throttle, then sleep.

He taught us what it means to be a wonderful father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was firm in his principles and supportive as we began to seek our own ways. He encouraged and comforted but never steered.

We tested his patience. I know I did.

But he always responded with the great gift of unconditional love.

Last Friday, when I was told he had minutes to live, I called him. The guy who answered the phone said, "He — I think he can hear you, but he hasn't said anything for most of the day." I said, "Dad, I love you, and you've been a wonderful father." And the last words he would ever say on Earth were, "I love you, too."

To us, he was close to perfect. But not totally perfect. His short game was lousy.

He wasn't exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor.

The man couldn't stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. And by the way, he passed these genetic defects along to us.

Finally, every day of his 73 years of marriage, Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband. He married his sweetheart. He adored her. He laughed and cried with her. He was dedicated to her, totally.

In his old age, Dad enjoyed watching police show re-runs, the volume on high.

All the while, holding Mum's hand. After Mum died, Dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was hold Mum's hand again.

Of course, Dad taught me another special lesson. He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country.

When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States, a diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander-in-chief of formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honour.

In his inaugural address, the 41st president of the United States said this, "We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighbourhood and town better than he found it.

"What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us, or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment, there, to trade a word of friendship."

Well, Dad, we're going to remember you for exactly that and much more. And we're going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever.

So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could ask. And in our grief, let us smile, knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mum's hand again.


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