“Before we begin with a tribute to our first honoree,” said Estefan. “I think it’s appropriate to recognize the passing of a wonderful man who dedicated his life to service and who graciously attended this event many times during his administration, laughing, applauding, singing along and even shedding a tear from right up there in the presidential box.”
Estefan said that Bush was a “gentle kind man” that her family will never forget.
This year’s ceremony honored music and Hollywood icon Cher, composer Philip Glass, country superstar Reba McEntire as well as jazz musician Wayne Shorter. Writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire were also honored as trailblazers for their groundbreaking smash musical Hamilton.
Also in attendance were Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and vice president’s chief of staff Nick Ayers.
For the second consecutive year, Donald Trump did not attend the event.