clear
Thursday December 13th, 2018 8:15AM

Bush's casket arrives at cathedral for Washington farewell

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's capital is bidding its final farewell to former President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday in a service of prayer and praise that has drawn together world envoys, Americans of high office and many others who were touched by Bush's life in office and afterward.

A military band played "Hail to the Chief" as the casket of the 41st president was carried down the U.S. Capitol steps in a solemn procession, with members of the Bush family watching and a cannon salute. His son, former President George W. Bush, placed his hand over his heart. Military pallbearers carried the casket up the steps to the cathedral.

The hearse had been driven in a motorcade to the Washington National Cathedral ceremony, slowing in front of the White House. Bush's route was lined with people much of the way, bundled in winter hats and taking photos.

A military color guard stood at attention as the hearse arrived.

Wednesday's ceremonies capped three days of remembrance in the nation's capital by dignitaries and ordinary citizens as they honored the Republican president who oversaw the post-Cold War world transition and led a successful Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

The four living ex-presidents all came — among them, George W. Bush who will eulogize his father — and President Donald Trump will attend but is not scheduled to speak. Also attending: one king (Jordan), one queen (Jordan), two princes (Britain, Bahrain), Germany's chancellor and Poland's president, among representatives of more than a dozen countries.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was "looking forward to being with the Bush family," calling the day "a celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life." Trump and his wife took their seats after the others, briefly greeting the Obamas seated next to them.

Also expected in the invitation-only crowd: Mike Lovejoy, a Kennebunkport electrician and fix-it man who has worked at Bush's Maine summer estate since 1990 and says he was shocked and heartened to be asked to come.

On Tuesday, soldiers, citizens in wheelchairs and long lines of others on foot wound through the Capitol Rotunda to view Bush's casket and honor a president whose legacy included World War military service and a landmark law affirming the rights of the disabled. Former Sen. Bob Dole, a compatriot in war, peace and political struggle, steadied himself out of his wheelchair and saluted his old friend and one-time rival.

After the national funeral service at the cathedral, Bush's remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. 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.

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

As at notable moments in his life, Bush brought together Republicans and Democrats in his death, and not only the VIPs.

Members of the public who never voted for the man waited in the same long lines as the rest, attesting that Bush possessed the dignity and grace that deserved to be remembered by their presence on a cold overcast day in the capital.

"I'm just here to pay my respects," said Jane Hernandez, a retired physician in the heavily Democratic city and suburbs. "I wasn't the biggest fan of his presidency, but all in all he was a good, sincere guy doing a really hard job as best he could."

Bush's service dog, Sully, was taken to the viewing, too — his main service these last months since Barbara Bush's death in April being to rest his head on her husband's lap. Service dogs are trained to do that.

The CIA also honored Bush, the only spy chief to become president, as three agency directors past and present joined the public in the viewing.

In the midst of the period of mourning, first lady Melania Trump gave Laura Bush, one of her predecessors, a tour of holiday decorations at the White House, a "sweet visit during this somber week," as Mrs. Bush's Instagram account put it. And the Trumps visited members of the Bush family at the Blair House presidential guesthouse, where they are staying. Former President George W. Bush and his wife greeted the Trumps outside before everyone went in for the private, 20-minute visit.

Although Trump will attend Bush's service, he is not among the eulogists. They are, in addition to Bush's eldest son, Alan Simpson, the former senator and acerbic wit from Wyoming; Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian prime minister who also gave a eulogy for Ronald Reagan; and presidential historian Jon Meacham.

People lined up before dawn to pay respects to the 41st president, a son and father of privilege now celebrated by everyday citizens for his common courtesies and depth of experience.

"He was so qualified, and I think he was just a decent man," said Sharon Terry, touring Washington with friends from an Indianapolis garden club. Said her friend Sue Miller, also in line for the viewing: "I actually think I underestimated him when he was in office. My opinion of him went up seeing how he conducted himself as a statesman afterward."

Fred Curry, one of the few African-Americans in line, is a registered Democrat from Hyattsville, Maryland, who voted for Bush in 1988, the election won by the one-term president. "Honestly I just liked him," he said. "He seemed like a sincere and decent man and you couldn't argue with his qualifications."

Inside the Capitol, Sully, the 2-year-old Labrador retriever assigned to Bush, sat by the casket in the company of people who came to commemorate Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1990 law that, among its many provisions, required businesses that prohibit pets to give access to service dogs.

"After Mrs. Bush's death, general companionship was a big part of Sully's job," John Miller, president and CEO of America's VetDogs, said in a phone interview. "One of the things that I think was important to the president was the rest command, where Sully would rest his head on the president's lap."

The law was just one point of intersection for Bush and Dole, now 95, who was one of its leading advocates in the Senate.

They were fellow World War II veterans, Republican Party leaders, fierce rivals for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination won by Bush ("Stop lying about my record," Dole snapped at Bush) and skilled negotiators. Dole, an Army veteran hit by German machine gunfire in Italy, has gone through life with a disabled right arm. Bush, a Navy pilot, survived a bail-out from his stricken aircraft over the Pacific and an earlier crash landing.

On Tuesday, Dole was helped out of his wheelchair by an aide, slowly steadied himself and saluted Bush with his left hand, his chin quivering.

Dignitaries had come forward on Monday, too, to honor the Texan whose service to 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. Bush, 94, died Friday.

Trump's relationship with the Bush family has been tense. The current president mocked the elder Bush for his "thousand points of light" call to volunteerism, challenged his son's legacy as president and trounced "low-energy" Jeb Bush in the Republican presidential primaries en route to office. The late President Bush called Trump a "blowhard."

Those insults have been set aside, but the list of funeral service speakers marked the first time since Lyndon Johnson's death in 1973 that a sitting president was not tapped to eulogize a late president. (Clinton did so for Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush eulogized Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.)

Bush's death reduces membership in the ex-presidents' club to four: Jimmy Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bush's casket arrives at cathedral for Washington farewell
The casket of the nation's 41st president, George H.W. Bush, has arrived at Washington National Cathedral for his funeral service.
11:07AM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump greets Obamas before Bush funeral
It's an extraordinary scene inside the Washington National Cathedral, where former world leaders are mingling, waiting for a ceremony remembering former President George H.W. Bush to begin
11:03AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Residents of California town leveled by fire can go home
Officials are allowing some residents of a California town leveled by a wildfire last month to return home
11:01AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Getty museum says it has right to keep prized Greek statue
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has vowed to assert its right to keep an important Greek statue after Italy's highest court rejected its appeal of a ruling ordering the artwork to be returned to Italy
10:22AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Protesters, now joined by unions, reject French concessions
French trade unions and farmers are pledging to join nationwide demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron
10:16AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Report details new allegations of Moonves' sexual misconduct
Report says a probe by CBS lawyers outlines more allegations of sexual misconduct by longtime chief Les Moonves
10:14AM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP National News
Prosecutors recommend no jail time for cooperative Flynn
Citing 'substantial' cooperation by Michael Flynn, special counsel recommends no jail time for Trump's former national security adviser
8:33AM ( 2 hours ago )
Presidents club assembles for Bush funeral, Trump an outlier
Current and former occupants of the Oval Office are coming together to honor a late member of their exclusive fraternity: the former presidents club
8:15AM ( 2 hours ago )
Putin: If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same
7:52AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Sources: Ex-Mass. Gov. Patrick to skip 2020 White House race
Former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will soon announce he won't launch a 2020 presidential campaign, according to three sources who aren't authorized to publicly discuss his plans and are speaking on condition of anonymity
9:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
Thousands of emails stolen from Republican committee's aides
Thousands of emails were stolen from aides to the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2018 midterm campaign
8:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP source: GOP committee suffers midterm election email hack
AP source: Emails stolen from GOP committee during midterm campaign
12:17AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
Crowds honor Bush for long service, from war to White House
Bush is celebrated for rights for the disabled and military service but mainly as a 'sincere' guy
7:15PM ( 16 hours ago )
House GOP campaign arm targeted by 'unknown entity' in 0218
The House GOP campaign arm says it was targeted by an 'unknown entity' during the 2018 midterm campaign; the FBI is investigating the breach
6:47PM ( 16 hours ago )
Crowds honor Bush, from war service to help for disabled
Bush is celebrated for rights for the disabled and military service but mainly as a 'sincere' guy
4:37PM ( 18 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: Trump greets Obamas before Bush funeral
It's an extraordinary scene inside the Washington National Cathedral, where former world leaders are mingling, waiting for a ceremony remembering former President George H.W. Bush to begin
11:03AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Residents of California town leveled by fire can go home
Officials are allowing some residents of a California town leveled by a wildfire last month to return home
11:01AM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Bush's casket leaves Capitol, heads to cathedral
Former President George H.W. Bush's casket has left the U.S. Capitol for a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral
10:39AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Expectations low as Yemen's warring parties meet for talks
Yemen's warring parties will meet in Sweden this week for another attempt at talks aimed at halting their catastrophic 3-year-old war, but there are few incentives for major compromises, and the focus is likely to be on firming up a shaky de-escalation
10:37AM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Brazil: Climate talks must listen to all nations
Brazil's chief negotiator at the U.N. climate meeting is warning against sidelining developing countries during key talks on efforts tackle global warming
10:35AM ( 39 minutes ago )