President Andrzej Duda and former president Lech Wałęsa attended the funeral of the 41st US President George H.W. Bush in Washington, DC on Wednesday.
“During his term, President Bush pursued policies which lead to a great transformation of Europe and he must be thanked for this”, President Duda told journalists after his arrival. He said that upon hearing of President’s Bush passing, “I immediately told my wife, my colleagues… I have to attend the funeral. I wanted to pay my respects to this particular president.”
President Wałęsa recalled his first meeting with George Bush Senior in 1989, when Mr Wałęsa was the head of the Solidarity trade union.
“I first met Mr Bush when he was still a deputy president. Martial law was in force and we asked him to use the word Solidarity in his official speech. I don’t think he believed in our chances, but he was checking out what we were capable of. He later said a couple of words about us in his speech, so he did even more than we had agreed on,” Mr Wałęsa said.
Mr Duda and Mr Wałęsa arrived in the US on Wednesday morning. Both Presidents were aboard the Presidential plane after Mr Wałęsa asked Mr Duda for help in getting to the US.
During the flight, “we have not talked for long, it was rather an exchange of courtesies. I do not know President Wałęsa very well, we have never had a conversation before”, Mr Duda said. “It was a night flight, we were both tired so we slept most of the time.”
The funeral of George H.W. Bush, who passed away last Friday, was held in Washington National Cathedral. It was attended by US President Donald Trump, the First Lady, former US Presidents, diplomats, and state officials. Mr Bush will be buried outside his presidential library in Texas next to his wife, Barbara, who died in April this year.