The 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, died Friday at the age of 94. Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning in his honor, and federal government offices will be closed for the day.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, Bush’s home state, announced that state agencies will be closed and “general government operations and services shall be maintained by skeletal work crews.” Also, flags on public buildings will be flying at half-staff for 30 days out of respect for Bush. In addition, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will also remain closed Wednesday.
The memorial service for Bush began with a military ceremony at Ellington Field in Houston on Monday and will continue through late Thursday afternoon. After the military ceremony, which concluded with a 21-gun salute, the casket was taken to Washington, D.C., where he was given a short memorial service.
Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the House chaplain, touted the various important roles that Bush served in, including Navy pilot to Congressman, U.N. ambassador, envoy to China, and CIA director before being elected vice president and then president.
House Speaker Paul Ryan gave a speech Monday at the ceremony, saying, “Here lies a great man, a gentle soul. … His legacy is grace perfected.” Other dignitaries like Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Sen. majority leader Mitch McConnell also spoke at the ceremony.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump did not attend the ceremony, but showed up later Monday to pay their respects. While Melania Trump placed a hand on her heart, Donald Trump stood to salute the casket.
“He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family,” Trump said Saturday, after hearing the news while in Argentina, CBS/ABC affiliated news outlet WJHL reported. “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 remains are to lie at the Capitol for public viewing till Wednesday morning, when an invitation-only funeral service is scheduled at the Washington National Cathedral. Along with the president and his wife, Prince Charles of the British royal family is among those expected to attend the event.
The service will be broadcast live by C-Span and you can watch the live streaming of the event here.
After the conclusion of services at the Washington Cathedral, the casket will be taken to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on Thursday, before eventually being buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, where his wife Barbara and their daughter Robin’s remains rest.
An official route map has been posted by Union Pacific. The public is requested to find safe places along the route to view the procession, as railroad tracks are private property.
Americans have the last chance to pay their respects to Bush when the remains of the former president will be taken on a custom-painted train Bush 4141 from the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to the Bush Library. The estimated two and a half-hour-long procession Texas route will pass through intersections such as Old Town Spring, I-45 near Spring Stuebner, Holzwarth near Grand Parkway, until it reaches College Station.