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Bush 41 Arrives at Capitol for Final Time

Former president lies in state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 3, 2018 5:00 PM CST
Sailors from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) slate as the plane carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush arrives, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
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(Newser)

The nation's capital embraced George HW Bush in death Monday with solemn ceremony and tributes to his service and decency, as the remains of the 41st president took their place in the Capitol rotunda for three days of mourning by the political elite and everyday citizens alike, the AP reports. With Bush's casket atop the Lincoln Catafalque, first used for Abraham Lincoln's 1865 funeral, dignitaries came forward to honor the Texan whose efforts for his country extended three quarters of a century from World War II through his final years as an advocate for volunteerism and relief for people displaced by natural disaster. In an invocation opening Monday evening's ceremony, the US House chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J Conroy, praised Bush's commitment to service. "Here lies a great man," said Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and "a gentle soul. ... His legacy is grace perfected."

Sent off from Texas with a 21-gun salute, Bush's casket was carried to Joint Base Andrews outside the capital city aboard an aircraft that often serves as Air Force One and designated "Special Air Mission 41" in honor of Bush's place on the chronological list of presidents. (Bush's loyal service dog accompanied him.) Cannon roared again outside the Capitol as the sun sank and his eldest son, former President George W. Bush, stood with his hand over his heart, watching the casket's procession up the steps. He will lie in state in the Capitol for public visitation through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are to attend. Although Bush's funeral services are suffused with the flourishes accorded presidents, by his choice they will not include a formal funeral procession through downtown Washington. After services in Washington, Bush will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot on the library grounds. (For Bush, a final, fitting pair of socks.)

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