Burrillville man serves on Honor Guard at President Bush’s funeral

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNE) — A Burrillville man had an important job Wednesday as hundreds of dignitaries, heads of state and family members celebrated the life of President George H.W. Bush. He’s a member of the honor guard and yesterday greeted some of the nation’s most powerful people.

Bryan McConnell was inside the Washington National Cathedral during yesterday’s funeral service for President Bush. He graduated from Burrillville High in 2017 and then joined the Coast Guard, a job that gave him the opportunity to take part in this historic moment.

As the nation says goodbye to the 41st president, a Burrillville man was there to ensure George H.W. Bush was laid to rest with the proper honors.

“It’s not everyday you get to do something like that,” says Seaman Bryan McConnell.

McConnell joined the U.S. Coast Guard after graduating from Burrillville High School. He served on the USCG Ceremonial Honor Guard at the funeral service Wednesday. He spoke to us on FaceTime about what it was like being in the room.

“George Bush the way he spoke about his father, it was a really good feeling like celebrating his life,” says McConnell.

His job was to bring guests to their seats giving him the chance to greet some of the nation’s most powerful people.

“I was able to shake Joe Biden’s hand, Paul Ryan, at one point I was standing about 5 feet away from the Obamas, the Clintons, Trump and the First Lady,” he says.

He took Peyton Manning to his seat and shook hands and got a “thank you” from Roger Goodell.

But for a Rhode Island kid there’s nothing better than this.

“The best was probably being able to take Robert Kraft to his seat because I’m a big Patriots fan,” he says.

Standing at attention as the president’s casket was brought in the magnitude of what he was a part of became clear.

“It’s a cool moment, something I’ll always remember. It’s definitely the biggest job I’ve had to do and it’s an honor,” says McConnell.

McConnell also welcomed some of the Bush family members into the cathedral. He works at the White House and Pentagon often so he’s becoming comfortable greeting world leaders.

© WLNE/ABC 6 2018