Dignitaries, public honor Bush at Capitol
by Harvest Prude
Posted 12/04/18, 11:48 am
WASHINGTON—Members of the general public lined up before sunrise Tuesday to pay their respects to former President George H.W. Bush, whose body lies in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda with an honor guard standing watch. On Monday, congressional leaders gathered in the rotunda for a memorial ceremony for the former 41st president, who died Friday night at age 94. His casket will remain at the Capitol until his state funeral, set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.
“Here lies a great man,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at the memorial service. “A gentle soul. … His legacy is grace perfected.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence also spoke. “All his years in public service were characterized by kindness, modesty, and patriotism,” Pence said. Other attendees included Bush’s children and grandchildren, former Vice President Dan Quayle, members of Congress, and every member of the Supreme Court except Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was recently hospitalized after a fall.
Later Monday night, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the rotunda to pay their respects. Both stood for a few minutes silently, and the president saluted the casket before leaving. Trump has announced a national day of mourning for Wednesday, closing most federal offices, including the U.S. Postal Service, which will suspend regular mail delivery.
Bush’s invitation-only funeral will include eulogies offered by his son, former President George W. Bush, and a number of longtime friends. Trump will attend along with former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Following his state funeral, Bush’s body will be returned to Houston, where it will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church from late Wednesday to early Thursday. Burial will take place Thursday at his family plot on the grounds of his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, alongside the graves of Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953.
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.