Lead­ers, op­po­nents, dog pay trib­ute to Bush

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page -

They came to­gether Tues­day from worlds that can of­ten seem so far apart, cur­rent and for­mer elected of­fi­cials, in­tel­li­gence chiefs and for­eign dig­ni­taries stand­ing along­side suit-clad fed­eral work­ers, col­lege stu­dents and other every­day Amer­i­cans. They came to­gether to bid farewell to Ge­orge H.W. Bush, the pa­tri­cian for­mer pres­i­dent who ded­i­cated years to pub­lic ser­vice.

Throngs of peo­ple streamed into the Capi­tol Ro­tunda for a quiet mo­ment see­ing Bush’s flag-draped cof­fin as he lies in state. Those who gath­ered in­cluded Bush’s rel­a­tives, peo­ple who served un­der him while he was com­man­der in chief and one­time po­lit­i­cal ri­vals, in­clud­ing Bob Dole, the for­mer Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader and Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent.

Dole, who had twice com­peted with Bush for the Re­pub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, ap­proached the cas­ket in a wheel­chair. An aide helped him stand briefly be­fore Bush’s body. With his left hand, Dole gave a salute to Bush, who like him had been vet­eran of the Sec­ond World War.

Jeb Bush, the late pres­i­dent’s son, posted on Twit­ter of the mo­ment: “Just in­cred­i­ble. Thank you Se­na­tor Dole.”

Bush died last week in Texas and will lie in state at the Capi­tol Ro­tunda un­til Wed­nes­day morn­ing. His body was brought to the Capi­tol on Mon­day to be­gin days of trib­utes in Wash­ing­ton and Texas, which will in­clude a na­tional day of mourn­ing and a state fu­neral Wed­nes­day.

A pa­rade of prom­i­nent names also came Tues­day to bid farewell to the 41st pres­i­dent, their ap­pear­ances re­flect­ing chapters from his re­mark­able re­sume. Colin Pow­ell, who Bush named as his chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came along with gen­er­als who served dur­ing the 1991 Per­sian Gulf War un­der Bush. Gina Haspel, the CIA di­rec­tor, ap­proached with John Bren­nan and oth­ers who had sim­i­larly fol­lowed in Bush’s foot­steps in lead­ing the agency.

Mem­bers of Congress, where Bush served four years, trick­led in and out, as did staffers for the Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee, which Bush once chaired. For­mer Se­cret Ser­vice di­rec­tors came through, as did South Korea’s for­eign min­is­ter and Kuwait’s for­mer prime min­is­ter.

More re­cent ad­di­tions to Bush’s life ap­peared. Sully, the stead­fast ser­vice dog who ac­com­pa­nied Bush in the fi­nal months of his life and was the sub­ject of a vi­ral pho­to­graph tweeted by the for­mer pres­i­dent’s spokesman, briefly took a spot in the Ro­tunda.

When a for­mer pres­i­dent dies, the pub­lic mourn­ing process of­fered by hav­ing them lie in state gives the Amer­i­can pub­lic a chance to say farewell. Bush is the 12th pres­i­dent to lie in state at the Capi­tol, a tra­di­tion that dates back to Abra­ham Lin­coln ABOVE: Sully, for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s ser­vice dog, pays his re­spect to Bush as he lies in state at the U.S. Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, on Tues­day. RIGHT: For­mer Sen. Bob Dole rises to his feet from his wheel­chair with the help of an aide to salute Bush’s flag-draped cas­ket.

in April 1865, although not ev­ery pres­i­dent has been hon­oured that way.

The first per­son memo­ri­al­ized this way was Henry Clay, a for­mer se­na­tor and speaker of the House, in 1852, ac­cord­ing to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. In re­cent years, the honor has also been given to sen­a­tors Daniel Inouye and John McCain.

The tra­di­tion of­fers a brief pe­riod of still­ness in an un­set­tled time, a rit­ual that crys­tal­lizes the mo­ment when the coun­try for­mally mourns and says good­bye. There have not been many pres­i­dents in the na­tion’s rel­a­tively young his­tory, and Bush’s death leaves just four liv­ing for­mer pres­i­dents as well as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Be­fore Bush, the last pres­i­dents to lie in state were Ron­ald Rea­gan – for whom Bush served as vice pres­i­dent – in 2004 and, a lit­tle more than two years later, Ger­ald Ford, who also was a Sec­ond World War vet­eran, con­gress­man and vice pres­i­dent be­fore serv­ing as pres­i­dent. Stat­ues of both men adorn the Ro­tunda that now holds Bush’s body.

As they did when those men were re­mem­bered, crowds of Amer­i­cans came to the Capi­tol on Tues­day with clasped hands, som­bre ex­pres­sions and some tears. Mourn­ers be­gan head­ing in­side well be­fore the sun rose, climb­ing two flights of stairs to gather around a cof­fin cloaked with an Amer­i­can flag and ringed by three flo­ral wreaths and an hon­our guard. To some, he was a pres­i­dent while they worked for the gov­ern­ment; oth­ers knew him only as a fig­ure from their text­books or as the fa­ther of the 43rd pres­i­dent.


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