Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Trump, Clinton, Obama 'unite' for George HW Bush funeral (Photos)

International dignitaries gathered with United States leaders on Wednesday at the funeral service for George H.W. Bush.

The funeral service is seen as a graceful show of unity that allowed Americans to hit pause on the toxic rhetoric that has engulfed Washington and national politics.

The US 41st president, who died Friday at age 94, laid in state for two days in the US Capitol rotunda.

President Donald Trump tweeted early Wednesday that he's looking forward to meeting the Bush family at the funeral.
"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. He will be missed!"
The president also made a low-key visit to the Capitol late Monday with First Lady Melania Trump to salute Bush’s casket.

The country’s five living presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Bush’s son George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump, attended the service at Washington National Cathedral, the Neo-Gothic spiritual centerpoint of the US capital.

The presidents and their wives seated in front row with their VPs seating directly behind them.

World dignitaries in the cathedral included Britain’s Prince Charles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, former Polish president Lech Walesa.

Tens of thousands of Americans quietly filed in to the Capitol to pay their respects to a man who steered the nation through turbulent times including the end of the Cold War.

In a show of respect, Pennsylvania Avenue was lined with well-wishers as a cortege proceeded toward the cathedral in the first presidential funeral since Gerald Ford died in late 2006.

President Trump declared Wednesday a national day of mourning. Many federal offices are closed along with Wall Street stock markets.

Congress also suspended votes, even in the midst of a looming potential shutdown that requires congressional action before midnight Friday.

Bush was a decorated World War II aviator who nearly lost his life when he was shot down on a bombing mission.

He served as a congressman, envoy to China and ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and vice president to Ronald Reagan before winning the White House.

After the Washington service, Bush’s casket will be flown back to Houston. The former head of state will lie in repose at St Martin’s Episcopal Church, where the Bushes worshipped for decades, until Thursday’s funeral.

He will be interred at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center in College Station, Texas, next to his wife, who died in April, and their daughter Robin who died of leukemia at age three.


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