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All ex-US presidents, world leaders to attend Bush's funeral service

China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-06 00:29
George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, wave to a crowd at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing in February 1989. Bush was presi dent of the United States at the time. DIANA WALKER / GETTY IMAGES

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, will be honored on Wednesday with a state funeral to be attended by the current president, all former presidents and world leaders.

President Donald Trump has proclaimed Wednesday a national day of mourning. Much of the government will be closed in reverence to Bush. His memorial service will take place at the National Cathedral.

In addition to Trump and first lady Melania Trump, former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their spouses will attend. Children of past presidents – including Chelsea Clinton, Susan Ford, Tricia Nixon, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson – also will attend.

World leaders attending will include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove, former Polish president Lech Walesa, Prince Charles of the UK and former Mexican president Carlos Salinas.

Eulogies at the service will be given by Bush's son, former president George W. Bush, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, former US senator Alan Simpson and presidential historian Jon Meacham, the late president's biographer.

On Monday night, Trump and his wife went to the Capitol Rotunda where Bush's casket arrived earlier that day from Texas, where he died at his home in Houston on Friday at the age of 94. The Trumps stood silently at the casket and then before leaving, Trump saluted the casket.

The general public, current and past government officials, some of whom worked with Bush, former CIA directors and World War II veterans viewed the casket on Tuesday.

One of the veterans was former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, 95,

who was helped out of his wheelchair Tuesday afternoon to salute Bush's casket. Dole was the Republican presidential nominee in 1996.

The CIA also honored Bush, the only spy chief to become president, as three agency directors past and present joined the public in the viewing on Tuesday.

Bush's service dog Sully also was taken into the Rotunda to visit the casket.

The viewing was to end at 7 am on Wednesday, with the service at the National Cathedral scheduled for 10 am. Attendance at the service was to be invitation only.

After the service, Bush's casket will be put on the presidential plane dubbed "Special Mission 41" for services in Houston. On Thursday, the coffin will be taken via a train bearing his name to his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station. He will be buried alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter who died in 1953 at the age of 3 from leukemia.

AP and Reuters contributed to this story.

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