12/3/18 – Washington to pay respects, bid farewell to George H.W. Bush

HOUSTON (AP) — George H.W. Bush is set to embark on his final tour of Washington, the capital city that is remembering the 41st president’s lifetime of public service that began in the Navy during World War II, ended with one term as president and was characterized throughout by what admirers say was his innate decency, generosity and kindness.

In Texas, students, staff and visitors have been flocking to Bush’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University, with thousands of mourners paying their respects at a weekend candlelight vigil at a nearby pond and others contributing to growing flower memorials at Bush statues at both the library and a park in downtown Houston.

A  similar outpouring is anticipated in Washington this week during the state funeral for Bush, who died late Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94.

Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, will lie in state beneath the U.S. Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visitation from Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to attend. Bush’s family has not said who will speak at the service.

Afterward, 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. His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

Bush’s casket is set to arrive in Washington on Monday afternoon aboard the U.S. military airplane that’s more commonly recognized as Air Force One. The crew has been tasked by President Trump with carrying out “Special Air Mission 41.” The number is a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents.

Pres. Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days out of respect for Bush.