The attendant pomp and circumstance surrounding the funeral and memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush have captured the nation’s attention — and its hearts.
From photos of the presidential service dog, Sully, guarding Bush’s casket, to the stream of dignitaries paying their condolences in high-profile, live-streamed political theater from the capital, the passing of the elder Bush has shown the nation a series of heartfelt and heartbreaking moments.
Here are some things you may not know about the funeral and memorial services unfolding throughout the week for America’s 41st president:
- From Monday until Wednesday morning, Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, his casket placed in the center of the room on what’s called the catafalque, a wooden platform once used for President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral in 1865. The flag-draped casket will be accompanied by an honor guard standing vigil around the clock, and the viewing is open to the public. A motorcade will take Bush from the Capitol to the National Cathedral, where the state funeral will be held.
- The state funeral begins at 8 a.m. PST. It will be livestreamed on C-Span and CNN. Eulogies will be delivered by former President George W. Bush, his son; former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; former Sen. Alan Simpson; and presidential historian Jon Meacham.
- Among the guests at Wednesday’s service will be President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump; former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama; and House Speaker Paul Ryan. According to CNN, foreign dignitaries planning to attend include Prince Charles and former British Prime Minister John Major; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; King Hussein II of Jordan; former Polish President Lech Walesa; and former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.
- Planning for this week’s funeral and services began long before Bush’s passing, said Maj. Gen. Michael L. Howard, the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region commanding general. Fox News quoted him as saying “this state funeral is a culmination of years of planning and rehearsal to ensure the support the military renders President Bush is nothing less than a first-class tribute.”
- After the funeral, a motorcade will take Bush to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland; from there, he will be flown back to his native Texas.
- From the time he arrives in Texas until Thursday morning, Bush will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
- A second funeral service will be held at 8 a.m. PST Thursday at St Martin’s. When it’s over, Bush will be taken by train to the George H.W. Bush Library Center at Texas A&M University in College Station.
- The former president’s final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3, according to Fox News.
- For his burial, Bush will be wearing a pair of his trademark colorful socks that pay tribute to his lifetime of service, said spokesman Jim McGrath, who also shared a photo on social media.
- Sully, the yellow Lab retriever who’s been alongside the former president since June, will continue his duty to the nation by helping veterans through the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facility Dog Program, according to the nonprofit America’s VetDogs. Sully will work alongside other service dogs, USA Today reported, to help wounded soldiers and others at the Bethesda, Maryland location.
The 41st President will be carried to his final rest wearing socks that pay tribute to his lifetime of service, starting as an 18 year-old naval aviator in war. That legacy is now being carried, in part, by the brave, selfless men and women aboard @CVN77_GHWB. #Remembering41 pic.twitter.com/OabtK756fO
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 3, 2018