President George HW Bush returns to capital to lie in state

HOUSTON (AP) — George H.W. Bush came back to Washington for a final time Monday, heading for the Capitol to lie in state as the nation paid tribute to the 41st president for a lifetime of service that began in the Navy during World War II, ended with four years as president and was characterized throughout by what admirers say was decency, generosity and kindness.

Sent off from his beloved Texas with a 21-gun salute, Bush’s casket was carried to Andrews Air Force Base outside the capital city aboard an aircraft that often serves as Air Force One.

Former President George W. Bush, the eldest of the four Bush sons, and his wife, Laura, along with brother Neil Bush and his family, boarded the plane for the cross-country trip to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

On Sunday, students, staff and visitors had flocked 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.

“I think he was one of the kindest, most generous men,” said Marge Frazier, who visited the downtown statue on Sunday while showing friends from California around.

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 in 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 to attend. Bush’s family has not said who will speak at the service. Former President Jimmy Carter also will be there.

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 was to arrive in Washington on Monday afternoon aboard the U.S. military airplane. The crew was tasked by Trump with carrying out “Special Air Mission 41,” a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents.

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Bush’s top military adviser, said Bush was the “perfect American” for serving his country in so many different capacities and should be remembered for “a life of quality, a life of honor, a life of honesty, a life of total concern for the American people.”

“He was a patriot. He demonstrated that in war, he demonstrated that in peace. He was able to demonstrate that in his four years of service,” Powell said on ABC’s “This Week.”

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.

Trump, who has not always uttered kind words about the Bush family, offered nothing but praise in the hours after the former president’s death was announced.

“He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family,” Trump said Saturday while in Argentina. “One thing that came through loud and clear, he was very proud of his family and very much loved his family. So he was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed.”

Bush’s passing puts him back in the Washington spotlight after more than two decades living the relatively low-key life of a former president. His death also reduces membership in the ex-presidents’ club to four: Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One of Bush’s major achievements was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading neighbor Iraq in 1991. The war lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

A humble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over a Japanese island. He had joined the Navy when he turned 18.

Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, and forged the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history. Bush enrolled at Yale University after military service, becoming a scholar-athlete and captaining the baseball team to two College World Series before graduating Phi Beta Kappa after just 2½ years.

After moving to Texas to work in the oil business, Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s. He was elected to the first of two terms in Congress in 1967. He would go on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA and chairman of the Republican National Committee before being elected to two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

Soon after he reached the height of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, with public approval ratings that are the envy of today’s politicians, the U.S. economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great communicator – something even he acknowledged – was out of touch with ordinary people.

He was denied a second term by Arkansas Gov. Clinton, who would later become a close friend. The pair worked together to raise tens of millions of dollars for victims of a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and of Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton of all people?” he joked in 2005.

In a recent essay, Clinton declared of Bush: “I just loved him.”

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Superville reported from Washington. Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show a quote was by Trump, not Bush.

 

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on events related to late former President George H.W. Bush (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

A military aircraft carrying the remains of former President George H.W. Bush has taken off and is flying from Houston to Washington for official mourning ceremonies, including a state funeral.

Pallbearers carried Bush’s casket from a hearse across the tarmac to a presidential plane commonly known as Air Force One. For the task of transporting Bush’s body on Monday, the plane has been renamed Special Air Mission 41, the number being a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents.

A military band played “Hail to the Chief.” An American flag and one with the presidential seal flew nearby.

Bush’s son former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, were among those relatives and Bush friends who walked to the aircraft shortly after the body was loaded aboard.

George H.W. Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94.

___

11:45 a.m.

George H.W. Bush’s remains have made the journey from a Houston funeral home to Ellington Field, where a presidential aircraft will carry them to Washington for a state funeral.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, one of George H.W. Bush’s grandsons, was among more than 100 invited guests seeing off Bush’s remains on Monday. The guests are set to witness a ceremony including a military band and a 21-gun salute.

Angela Savage one of the people who stood outside the funeral home to watch the passing of the hearse carrying Bush’s casket as it headed to Ellington Field. She called it “a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event.”

Savage describes what she saw as “amazing and very respectful,” adding, “I feel like that’s what he deserves.”

Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94.

___

11:25 a.m.

More than 100 invited guests have gathered at Houston’s Ellington Field for a ceremony to send off the casket of former President George H.W. Bush to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

The guests stood next to the tarmac at Ellington Field on Monday and awaited the arrival of the hearse with Bush’s casket.

The guests and Bush family members are to attend a ceremony that will include a military band and a 21-gun salute.

The guests stood near the U.S. military plane that’s more commonly known as Air Force One. For the task of transporting Bush’s body, the plane has been renamed Special Air Mission 41, the number being a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents.

Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

___

10:45 a.m.

A hearse carrying the casket of former President George H.W. Bush has left a Houston funeral home.

The casket was draped in an American flag and was carried by six pallbearers on Monday morning. It was placed into a hearse headed to Houston’s Ellington Field, where a presidential aircraft waited to carry Bush’s body to Washington for a state funeral.

The hearse was part of a motorcade escorted by Houston police officers on motorcycles.

Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94.

___

10:35 a.m.

A spokeswoman confirms former President Jimmy Carter plans to attend the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush.

Rosalynn Carter will not attend. The 91-year-old former first lady has limited her travels in recent months.

With Bush’s death, Jimmy Carter becomes the oldest living former president, at age 94. Both men were born in 1924, Bush on June 12, Carter on Oct. 1.

Bush served as CIA director when Carter first ran for president 1976. Carter replaced Bush with Stansfield Turner.

Four years later, Bush joined the Ronald Reagan Republican ticket that routed Carter in the 1980 presidential election.

Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

___

10:20 a.m.

Secret Service personnel who had been assigned to protecting George H.W. Bush are serving as honorary pallbearers as his remains begin making their way from Houston to a state funeral in Washington.

The former president’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, tweeted Monday that for “this first movement in Houston” members of “the current @SecretService Bush Protective Division will serve as honorary pallbearers.”

Bush died at his Houston home on Friday at age 94. His remains are scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday afternoon and later will begin lying in state at the U.S. Capitol.

On Wednesday morning, a motorcade will take the remains to a state funeral at the National Cathedral.

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9:20 a.m.

Houston is honoring George H.W. Bush with a City Hall tribute and urging people who attend to dress in colorful socks, a nod to one of the former president’s favorite fashion accessories.

Mayor Sylvester Turner is hosting Monday evening’s event featuring music and community leaders in front of City Hall. Turner tweeted that those in attendance should “wear their own colorful socks.”

Bush often sported bright socks, sometimes with loud, unusual patterns. He died Friday at his Houston home at age 94, and his body is heading to Washington for a state funeral.

Spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Monday that Bush “will be carried to his final rest” wearing gray socks saluting the Armed Forces and paying “tribute to his lifetime of service,” starting as an 18-year-old “naval aviator in war.”

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1:35 a.m.

George H.W. Bush is set to embark on his final tour of Washington as a nation prepares to bid farewell to its 41st president.

His remains will arrive in Washington on Monday, and he will lie in state at the Capitol through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral, to be attended by President Donald Trump and other dignitaries.

Bush will then be returned to Houston for burial Thursday at his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

He will be laid to rest alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter who died of leukemia at age 3.

Bush was president from 1989 to 1993. He died Friday in Houston at age 94.

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