Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who wrote the definitive biography of George H.W. Bush in 2015, delivered the first eulogy at Bush's state funeral in Washington on Wednesday.

Meacham began with a heroic anecdote from Bush's service as a pilot during World War II, describing when Bush's plane was shot down over the Pacific.

Meacham called Bush the "last great soldier-statesman," saying he embodied the values of presidents like John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.

"He believed that to whom much was given, much was expected," Meacham said.

Meacham highlighted some of Bush's greatest accomplishments, including managing the end of the Cold War and signing the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"An imperfect man, he left us a more perfect union," Meacham said.

Public speaking wasn't Bush's strong suit, Meacham noted, mentioning Bush's acknowledgement of his shortcomings. Meacham then dove into Bush's marriage to Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year. They were married for more than 70 years.

Bush was a "loving man, with an all-enveloping heart," Meacham said.

Meacham circled back to the beginning of his speech, when he noted Bush's plane being shot down in World War II. Saying Bush had the heart of a lion, Meacham said Bush was spared that day so that he could leave a lasting mark on the nation.