NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Former President Bush’s passing holds special meaning for three Nacogdoches residents.
Together they saw his inauguration in 1989. Now, they've gathered once again for his goodbye. What were they thinking as they watched the funeral of President George H.W. Bush?
"We saw him come in and now we're seeing him go out," said Nancy Speck Mangham.
It was a ticket every Texan wanted. A spot to see the George H. W. Bush inauguration.
Mangham's son worked for former Senator Bob Dole at the time. She got the coveted passage, plus two more tickets for her dear friends.
"It was so impressive. We still talk about how glad we were that we could go," said Peggy.
"She helped us with a lot of things, especially Washington," remembered Campbell.
Nancy recalls how Campbell Cox stood out in the crowd.
"You know, Campbell was one of our tallest citizens and he had on his ten gallon hat and he would stand up, you could just hear the whispering thru the crowd, 'Well I bet he is a Texan,' " said Mangham.
The tall Texans was even approached by a Washington reporter.
“If I could have found the clippings I would show it to you,” said Campbell.
The three went to parades and danced at the Texan Ball. Sometime later, during a Maine vacation, the Coxs saw the Bush men enjoying a fishing trip.
"It was just a treat to see. George W. was doing more fishing than his dad. He kept wanting to run the boat," recalled Peggy.
There are fond memories, so saying goodbye stirs emotions.
"It's really sad to see this era go," said Peggy while watching the funeral on the living room television.
"He was an outstanding president, I thought. He didn't make anybody mad," shared Campbell.
Mangham said, "I wish we had perfected cloning. And that we could perpetually have in reserve people who are wise and as dedicated to the union of this nation as I believe the Bushs are."
The Coxs continued to support the Bush era.
Nancy Speck Mangham, an advocate for education and mental health, received a high-level committee appointment from President Bush.
She is also proud that her daughter worked in the White House on the president’s staff administering Cabinet affairs.