WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The casket of former President George H.W. Bush arrived at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state, as the nation prepares to honor the 41st president.
The plane carrying the casket from Houston to Joint Base Andrews was welcomed by the military when it touched down when late Monday afternoon.
A formation of Navy sailors and Air Force personnel stood at attention as the plane touched down. The sailors assembled were from the USS George H. W. Bush, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. A group of about 100 civilian dignitaries and well-wishers also were on hand.
The elder Bush was then honored with a 21-gun salute as the casket made its way to the vehicle that would take it to the U.S. Capitol.
Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visitation from Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service will follow at Washington National Cathedral before his casket returns to Houston for burial.
President Donald Trump, who will attend the funeral service in Washington, has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning.
The casket was draped in an American flag and was carried by six pallbearers on Monday morning. It was placed into a hearse headed to Houston’s Ellington Field, where a presidential aircraft waited to carry Bush’s body to Washington for a state funeral.
Relatives accompanying the casket include his sons, former President George W. Bush and Neil Bush, along with members of their immediate families. The rest of the Bush family is expected to be at Joint Base Andrews when the body arrives.
The hearse was part of a motorcade escorted by Houston police officers on motorcycles.
View this post on Instagram
This brought me such comfort this morning. I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. “Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.” And I started crying. I managed to choke out, “Well, why? What do you look forward to?” And he said, “Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman. And then he said, “I hope she’s the three-year-old.” Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”
STATE FUNERAL IN WASHINGTON
In Washington, Bush will lie in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol from Monday at 7:30 p.m. EST until Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. EST. His casket will be transported by motorcade Wednesday morning to the National Cathedral, where a state funeral will be held at 11 a.m. EST. President Donald Trump has indicated he and first lady Melania Trump will attend the state funeral.
RETURN TO HOUSTON
Following the service at the National Cathedral, Bush will be flown to Houston on Wednesday with a scheduled arrival of around 4:30 p.m. CST. His body will be transported by motorcade to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where he and his wife regularly worshipped. A public viewing of Bush’s casket will be held at the church from 6:45 p.m. CST on Wednesday until 6 a.m. CST on Thursday.
On Thursday, a private funeral service with about 1,200 invited guests will be held at the church starting at 10 a.m. CST. After the hour-long service, a motorcade will transport Bush’s casket to a train station north of Houston, near the international airport named after Bush.
A ceremony will be held at the train station as Bush’s casket is loaded onto a Union Pacific train. The train will take about 2½ hours to travel roughly 70 miles (113 kilometers) to the city of College Station, home to Bush’s presidential library at Texas A&M University. The locomotive has been painted the colors of the Air Force One plane used during his presidency and bears the number “4141” in honor of the 41st president.
BURIAL IN COLLEGE STATION
The train is scheduled to arrive in College Station on Thursday around 3:45 p.m. CST. Bush’s casket will then be transported by motorcade to the presidential library, where he will be buried at the gated family plot near his wife and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3. Barbara Bush died on April 17 at their Houston home. The couple was married for 73 years, longer than any other U.S. presidential couple.
Ceremonies at the presidential library will include a missing man formation flyover. The casket will then be rolled along a path through woods, over a bridge and over a creek for burial during a private graveside service with Bush’s family.