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George H.W. Bush funeral: Mourners to include all living U.S. presidents

George H.W. Bush funeral: Mourners to include all living U.S. presidents

George H.W. Bush funeral: Mourners to include all living U.S. presidents

George H.W. Bush funeral: Mourners to include all living U.S. presidents

George H.W. Bush funeral: Mourners to include all living U.S. presidents

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December 5 at 9:42 AM

Mourners from across the nation are gathering Wednesday morning in Washington to pay their respects and celebrate the life of former president George H.W. Bush at a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.

President Trump and the four living former U.S. presidents, along with their spouses, are among those who will attend. The 41st president’s son, former president George W. Bush, is among those scheduled to offer eulogies.

The service is expected to start around 11 a.m. and end around 1:15 p.m. The Washington Post will have live coverage here.

9:30 a.m.: Head of U.S. Episcopalian Church among those officiating at Bush’s funeral

Among those officiating at Wednesday’s funeral is Michael Bruce Curry, the head of the Episcopalian Church in America.


Members of the public pay their respects to former president George H.W. Bush in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Wednesday. (Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Curry made headlines in May for delivering a riveting sermon at the royal British wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Other details of the service are included in the funeral program, which is being distributed.

9:15 a.m.: Dignitaries arrving at funeral site

Several dignataries have been spotted arriving at the Washington National Cathedral, including former Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and former Republican vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Others on site include Karl Rove, the political adviser to George W. Bush; Colin Powell, a former secretary of state; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and personal lawyer to President Trump.

Large buses are pulling up on the south side of the cathedral and depositing guests, who are entering through the front doors.

9 a.m.: Trump says Bush service will be ‘a day of celebration’

Two hours before the service was scheduled to begin, President Trump wrote on Twitter that he is looking forward to being with the Bush family.

“This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life,” Trump said. “He will be missed!”

Trump is expected to attend the funeral at the Washington National Cathedral along with his wife Melania.

8:50 a.m.: Funeral to include a few personal touches

On Wednesday morning, when George H.W. Bush’s casket is carried into the Washington National Cathedral, it will be set atop the same black-shrouded bier on which Abraham Lincoln and almost a dozen other presidents were once posthumously laid.

Like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, Bush will then be honored in the house of worship that Bush saw completed as president 28 years ago.

The state funeral will be steeped in tradition, but there will also be a few personal touches to remind mourners that the nation’s 41st president was also his own man.

Bush will be wearing socks adorned with planes flying in formation, a nod to his service in World War II, when he was shot down while flying a torpedo bomber in the Western Pacific.

After he is flown back to Houston on Wednesday afternoon, he will be transported in a special “Bush 4141” train to College Station, before being driven to his presidential library, where he will be buried.

And unlike Reagan, Bush will not travel in a ceremonial horse-drawn wagon, called a caisson, according to spokesman Jim McGrath.

Read more from The Post’s Michael E. Miller here.

8:30 a.m.: German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Bush family

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was spotted by CBS News arriving at Blair House to visit with the Bush family ahead of the funeral.

Former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, are among those staying at Blair House, the presidential guest quarters across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.

Trump and his wife, Melania, paid a visit to the Bush family at Blair House on Tuesday night, traveling in the presidential parade limousine, with a motorcade of at least seven other vehicles.

8:15 a.m.: Visible police presence in place

Three hours before the service, there was a visible police presence along Massachusetts Avenue, part of the route between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington National Cathedral. A motorcade carrying Bush is scheduled to leave the Capitol around 10 a.m.

The number of police vehicles increased close to the cathedral, with dozens holding positions along the roads. Snow plows were blocking most residential streets within four blocks of the funeral site.

Traffic was snarled on upper Massachusetts Avenue, especially around the Wisconsin Avenue intersection.

There was also already a heavy police presence around the cathedral, including Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. A handful of Army officers in dress uniform were also on the site.

7:15 a.m.: Capitol Rotunda closed to the public

The Capitol Rotunda was closed to the public around 7 a.m. on Wednesday after being open for more than 35 hours in honor of the nation’s 41st president.

Mourners who came to pay their respects included former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, which Bush once led; members of Congress; diplomats; World War II veterans; sports stars and many others.

Among the most memorable moments was former senator Bob Dole rising from his wheelchair, jaw quivering, to deliver a quick, crisp salute to Bush’s casket.

6:45 a.m.: George W. Bush, three others to deliver eulogies

Former president George W. Bush, the son of the 41st president, is among those who will deliver eulogies on Wednesday.

Others include former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney; former Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming; and presidential historian and Bush biographer Jon Meacham.

6:40 a.m.: All living presidents, foreign dignitaries plan to attend

President Trump and all four living former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — are planning to attend services at the Washington National Cathedral. The spouses of all five leaders are also expected to be among the mourners.

The list of guests also include many foreign dignitaries, including Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne; King Abdullah II of Jordan; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Polish President Andrzej Duda; former Polish president Lech Walesa and former British prime minister John Major.

6:30 a.m.: Following Washington funeral, Bush to be flown to Houston

The coffin carrying Bush’s remains is scheduled to depart the U.S. Capitol at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and travel by motorcade to the Washington National Cathedral.

Funeral services are expected to begin around 11 a.m. At the conclusion of the service, expected around 1:15 p.m., Bush will be taken to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He will then be flown to Houston.

An arrival ceremony is scheduled at 6:45 p.m. at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where Bush will then lie in repose.

Elise Viebeck, Sueng Min Kim, Patricia Sullivan and Michael E. Miller contributed to this report.

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