Spotlight: Late former president Bush flown back to U.S. capital for final salute

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-04 13:22:47|Editor: mym
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Visitors pay their respects to late former U.S. President George H.W. Bush lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, in Washington D.C., the United States, on Dec. 4, 2018. The coffin of late former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was flown to Washington D.C. on Monday as the nation is paying tribute to him and his legacy. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The coffin of late former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was flown to Washington D.C. on Monday as the nation is paying tribute to him and his legacy.

Bush's body is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda after being flown by a plane which often serves as Air Force One to a military base outside the capital from a cross-country trip earlier Monday from Houston, state of Texas.

Bush died at his Houston home on Nov. 30 at the age of 94.

At the rotunda, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said there was a kindness about Bush that "was evident to everyone who ever met him."

"All his years in public service were characterized by kindness, modesty and patriotism," Pence said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, also spoke.

Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, the incoming House speaker, and Senate Democratic leader Charles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer placed wreaths at the ceremony.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump made a brief visit to the rotunda Monday night, where they paid their respects to Bush, the 41st president.

The public is allowed to pay its respects to Bush from 7:30 p.m. Monday (0030 GMT Tuesday) to early Wednesday.

Denise Sesler of Nashville, state of Tennessee, was among a crowd of people lining up outside Capitol Hill. She told Xinhua that she respected Bush immensely.

She recalled Bush as a man of "honor, dignity and graciousness" and a president who worked across the aisle and sought good relations with other nations.

Bush's casket will be transported by a motorcade Wednesday morning to the Washington National Cathedral, where a state funeral will be held at 11 a.m.(1600 GMT) and be attended by Trump and the first lady.

"Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush," Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Former President George W. Bush will be among those eulogizing his late father on Wednesday, CNN reported Monday, adding that several other former presidents are expected to show up at the funeral.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged residents to wear colorful socks at an evening event in front of City Hall in a nod to one of the late former president's favorite fashion accessories. The elder Bush enjoyed wearing a colorful pair of socks for different occasions.

Jim McGrath, spokesman for the Bush family, tweeted that Bush "will be carried to his final rest wearing socks that pay tribute to his lifetime of service."

Following the service in Washington, Bush will be flown to Houston Wednesday to lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot behind the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.

He will be buried alongside his wife Barbara Bush who died seven months ago, and Robin Bush, the daughter the couple lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

Bush was elected U.S. president in 1988 as the successor to Ronald Reagan. He served as head of the U.S. Liaison Office in China between 1974 and 1975.

Born in 1924 in the state of Massachusetts, Bush joined the U.S. Navy upon finishing high school in 1942. His wartime duty was spent in the Pacific flying a three-man Avenger torpedo bomber.

He graduated from Yale in 1948 with a degree in economics.

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