WASHINGTON – The casket containing the body of former President George Herbert Walker Bush arrived late Wednesday morning at Washington National Cathedral for his state funeral.
The casket arrived just before 11 a.m. via a motorcade from the U.S. Capitol. The Navy Band played “Hail to the Chief” as a military honor guard removed the casket from the presidential hearse.
The band had played the same song as the honor guard solemnly carried Bush’s body from the Capitol.
Members of the Bush family and congressional leaders stood not far from the Capitol steps as a brief ceremony took place that featured a 21-gun salute and artillery fire.
Bush laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening through Wednesday morning. During that time, members of public came to pay their respects.
At the cathedral, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are seated in the front row. Next to them are three former presidents and first ladies: Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. The Vice President also is in attendance as are U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
H.W.’s eldest son, George W. Bush, who served as America’s 43rd president, arrived at the cathedral with his wife, Laura Bush, and his siblings in the motorcade. The former president greeted the current and former first couples before being seated. He will eulogize his father.
The 41st president died Friday at age 94. He had been in failing health for several years.
During his tenure in office (1989-93), Eastern bloc nations gained independence, the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. led an international coalition that drove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.
Prior to being elected president, the Republican served as vice president for eight years under Ronald Reagan. He also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as a member of Congress.