A 'Dramatic Moment' Before No. 41's Funeral

World leaders and past presidents to gather in DC Wednesday to remember George HW Bush
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2018 6:57 AM CST
The Big Names Gathering for Bush's Funeral
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush greet visitors after viewing the flag-draped casket of former President George HW Bush as he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The mail has been stopped, the NYSE has been shuttered, and past US presidents, world leaders, and other dignitaries are converging on DC to attend the state funeral for George HW Bush. President Trump, who has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning, is set to attend the service for the 41st president at the Washington National Cathedral with first lady Melania Trump, reports CNN. Also expected: the entire Bush family, including No. 43, George W Bush; the other three remaining ex-presidents (Obama, Clinton, and Carter) and their wives; former first kids, including Chelsea Clinton and Tricia Nixon Cox; and a bevy of both current and former heads of state from around the globe, including Prince Charles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Jordan's King Abdullah II, and ex-Polish leader Lech Walesa. More on the big farewell:

  • CNN notes the "uneasy presidents club" that will be congregating, with "few [believing] the death of President George HW Bush will lead to new camaraderie between Trump and the men who served before him." The site points out Trump hasn't spoken to any of his three living predecessors (or former first lady Hillary Clinton) since he's taken office.
  • Despite that tension, the service is expected to encompass "an unusual bipartisan spirit," per Reuters, which notes Bush's once-stated desire for a "kinder, gentler" United States. "You'll see a lot of joy," a former re-election staffer says.

  • Son George W. Bush will offer a eulogy that "promises a moment for the history books," USA Today notes. Biographer Jon Meacham is also set to speak, as are former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney and ex-US Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming.
  • Fox News reports on a "dramatic moment" at the Capitol Rotunda that took place Tuesday as Bush's body lay in state: former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, 95, being helped out of his wheelchair to offer a standing salute in front of Bush's American flag-draped casket. PBS has the video.
  • Besides the USPS and NYSE, Money has the scoop on what else is open and closed on Wednesday.
(No. 41 is wearing a special piece of clothing for his send-off.)

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