Former President George Bush will be honored this week in Washington and Houston in a series of tributes and memorial services before he is laid to rest at his presidential library and museum at Texas A&M University in College Station.
After a ceremony on Monday night with congressional leadership and lawmakers in the Capitol Rotunda, the former president’s coffin will be on view for the public to pay tribute.
On Wednesday, former President George W. Bush, Mr. Bush’s son, will deliver a eulogy during a state funeral at Washington National Cathedral. All of the other living former presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — and President Trump are expected to attend the funeral. Breaking with recent tradition, the current president will not deliver a eulogy.
American rituals reserved for the highest honor — including a 21-gun salute, the honor guard carrying the coffin and a presidential funeral train — will be on display all week.
A military honor guard carried Mr. Bush’s coffin down the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday morning. Candles were lit and details were finalized at Washington National Cathedral before the motorcade arrived for the funeral service.
President Trump and his wife, Melania, attended the funeral along with the former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. The younger Mr. Bush delivered an emotional eulogy and described his father as having been “born with just two settings: full-throttle, then sleep.” Jenna Bush Hager, Mr. Bush’s granddaughter, also delivered remarks.
The pomp and circumstance of the funeral, coordinated by the Military District of Washington, was decades in the making. Presidential funeral planning begins the day a president is sworn into office.
Mr. Bush’s coffin departed the cathedral, en route to Joint Base Andrews. He will take one last trip on the presidential aircraft, designated Special Air Mission 41, to his final resting place in Texas.
Tuesday, Dec. 4
Lines snaked up to the Capitol early Tuesday morning as people waited for hours to witness Mr. Bush lying in state in the Rotunda. Families traveled from far-flung cities to pay their respects as the honor guard stood by throughout the day and night.
Former Senator Bob Dole, 95, stood up from his wheelchair, with help from an aide, to salute Mr. Bush’s coffin. The two men were once political rivals, but both were World War II veterans.
Monday, Dec. 3
Capitol Rotunda Ceremony
As the sun set, a military honor guard carried Mr. Bush’s coffin up the steps of the Capitol, where Mr. Bush’s family members and former colleagues paid their respects.
The ceremony in the Rotunda was hosted by congressional leaders from both parties. The younger Mr. Bush, his wife Laura and brother Jeb were emotional during the service. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who were in Mr. Bush’s cabinet, were there as well.
People lined up outside the Capitol to pay tribute to Mr. Bush. The public viewing lasted all Monday night and into Tuesday morning.
Without fanfare, Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, paid a brief visit to the Rotunda after the Bush family left. Mr. Trump has publicly criticized several members of the Bush family, including Jeb Bush, whom Mr. Trump beat in the Republican presidential primary race in 2016.
A joint services military honor guard escorted Mr. Bush’s coffin onto Special Air Mission 41, a specially designated flight of the presidential aircraft, departing Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston. The flight landed Monday afternoon at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, carrying many of Mr. Bush’s closest family members and friends.
Mr. Bush was the first president since John Adams to have a son who also became president, and the younger Mr. Bush and Ms. Bush were among those arriving.
A makeshift memorial for Mr. Bush quickly accumulated on Sunday at his presidential library in College Station, Tex. People laid flowers and left notes after learning of his death on Nov. 30.
In Washington, visitors to the National Portrait Gallery were taken by Mr. Bush’s official portrait. Will Simms, a graphics specialist at the Newseum, displayed front pages from newspapers around the United States announcing Mr. Bush’s death and the week of mourning ahead.