Solemn public pays tribute as Bush lies in state in Rotunda

Pool  Getty Images North America

Pool Getty Images North America

Bush, who died on November 30, will return to Houston for his funeral on Thursday.

"Today, this hero has returned to the Capitol a final time", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

"He was the first president I voted for", he said, calling the late president someone who felt "public service is more important than politics".

In a deeply divided political climate, Washington witnessed a rare moment of unity on Monday as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to remember George H.W. Bush. One of 41's last wishes was for Sully to continue to serve.

People filed into the Capitol throughout the chilly, overcast day 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.

The younger President Bush, his wife, Laura, and others from the family traveled on the flight from Houston.

An 11 a.m. state funeral for the former president will be held at the Washington National Cathedral that day. Bush is survived by five children, including former president George Bush and former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush, and 17 grandchildren.

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Sen. Tom Carper released a statement December 1 on the passing of the 41st President, George H.W. Bush.

Melania represented the current White House.

"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.

Although Bush's funeral services are suffused with the flourishes accorded presidents, by his choice they will not include a formal funeral procession through downtown Washington. "David Gergen just mentioned we need to give him credit for not tweeting out nasty things about President Bush".

National days of mourning don't happen often, so you may be confused about what's open and what's not.

"President Bush was a great leader who made a great difference in the life of this nation".

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