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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Former President Bush Speaks at Lionel Hampton Funeral

Aired September 7, 2002 - 09:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHARLES MOLINEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: You're looking live at the scene in New York City's Riverside Chapel in Harlem, where Lionel Hampton's funeral's under way. President -- former president George Bush is now in the process of reading a letter from President Bush, his son.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: ... celebration in the White House. As an old family friend going all the way back to my dad's boyhood, Lionel's talent and passion for music will be missed, not only by the Bush family, but all those who loved jazz.

As President Eisenhower's good will ambassador, Kennedy Center board member, National Medal of Arts recipient, educator, band leader, this legendary musician will be remembered for his important contributions to our nation and the world. Recognized as the first jazz musician with a university music school named in his honor, Lionel encouraged many aspiring musicians to work hard and realize their dreams.

His legacy of music, education, and civic dedication will continue to inspire generations to come.

On behalf of the Bush family, we send our heartfelt condolences to all those gathered in this -- to remember this proud American, remarkable musician, and dear friend."

My brief remarks are entitled "Only in America."

For the times in which he lived, and for the timeless values he held so true, only in America could the story of Lionel Hampton be the true story of how talent and decency overcame ignorance and ill will, how opportunity and greatness ultimately yielded to the perseverance, and how one life today transcends the times over which it spanned.

Perhaps it speaks to the obvious, particularly here before this audience of his friends, to suggest that to know Lionel was to know joy, pure, simple joy. Like few other people I have ever met in my entire life, Lionel radiated joy, the kind of unbridled joy that permeated his music, and the kind of joy in turn which helped to shape and even define an era in jazz.

MOLINEAUX: You are listening to a salute to jazz legend Lionel Hampton from President Bush and his father, former president Bush, at the Riverside Church in Harlem.

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