Veterans in Wichita gather to watch funeral for George H.W. Bush

WICHITA, Kan. Among many across the U.S. who sat aside time Wednesday to watch the funeral service for George H.W. Bush was a senior group in Wichita that shares a bond with the nation's 41st president: military service for their country.

John Parker, a veteran who served in the Korean War, Wednesday reflected on Bush's time as president, but especially his time serving overseas during World War II.

"(Bush) went into the Navy young, 18, and became a pilot. That was always interesting to me," Parker says.

He says watching Wednesday's service made him think more about how his country almost lost George H.W. Bush before most Americans knew his name. More than 40 years before he became president, Bush's plane was shot down over a Japanese island. He was rescued by a crew aboard a submarine off the coast of Chichi-jima.

"Just the story of him being rescued when he went down in the Pacific by a submarine, you can't help but think, 'why was the submarine there and how did they find him?'' Parker says.

Fellow veterans who spoke with Eyewitness News Wednesday say for them, the most emotional part of George H.W. Bush's funeral was hearing his son, George W. Bush, speak about his father and the kind of man he was away from his public service.