Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Andrews Air Force Base this afternoon and received a gala welcome from a cheering crowd led by President Bush. The pope will visit Washington and New York during his six-day visit, saying Mass at a baseball park in each city. The official greeting ceremony will take place tomorrow, the pontiff's 81st birthday, at the White House.
Bush's presence on the tarmac at Andrews when the pope's plane, "Shepherd 1," touched down was unprecedented, Newsday reports: A president has never before greeted a head of state upon arrival in the country. First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Jenna joined him, and each of them greeted the pope with a handshake.