George H.W. Bush's funeral was an emotional event no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on.
The man's funeral was broadcast for all of the world to see, but it was one moment in particular that meant the most to people who knew the former president well.
When The Oak Ridge Boys got up to perform, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The country quartet sang a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" in honor of their friend, but it's the story behind that performance that has everyone getting emotional.
The band's close relationship with Bush actually dates back to 1983, when they were invited to sing at the White House.
Joe Bonsall, member of the band, said "The vice president comes tearing across the White House lawn." George H.W. Bush was the VP at the time and Ronald Reagan was the president.
The band was in the middle of their soundcheck for the evening's performance but Bush was not going to be able to attend but he loved the band so much he asked if he could watch their practice session.
"Here comes George Bush running towards us, saying, 'I can't make it tonight, but I'm a huge country fan, I'm a big Oak fan. Will you sing some of your songs?'" Bonsall continued.
"He started listing album cuts, so he wasn't kidding," Bonsall said, explaining that Bush got to . "We were just blown away that the vice president knew our music."
The band revealed that over the last three decades their friendship with the former president remained strong.
“We sang for him at his call after that,” band member Duane Allen said. “We’d fly to Kennebunkport with our wives and stay in their house and spend the summertime with them together. We last went two years ago and had lunch with them. Those were some of the most special times in our lives.”
On a lighter note... The time in Kennebunkport when we presented him with a coat designed by the great @ManuelCouture which covered every aspect of his life ... Barbara said “Oh My God, If he starts wearing that everywhere I may kill all four of you!” 😂 #RIPPresidentBush41 pic.twitter.com/zduG0r3fWB— The Oak Ridge Boys (@oakridgeboys) December 1, 2018
Bush asked the band to perform at his funeral himself. "President Bush means so much to us," band member Richard Sterban added. "George Bush requested before he passed away that we sing 'Amazing Grace,' his favorite song, at his funeral. There's no way we wouldn't do it. He always taught us to do the right thing, and it is a tremendous honor. One final time here on this earth, we're going to sing it for him and we believe in our hearts we'll see him again one day and we'll sing it for him again."
The band carried their suits with them as they toured, in case the call came in. When the band heard the news, they didn't hesitate to jump on an overnight plane and fly to Houston after their concert.
“It’s what you do for friends,” Allen said.
Seeing them perform was a truly memorable experience, and I'm sure it's exactly what Bush would have wanted.