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George H.W. Bush’s remains fly from Texas to D.C. on ‘Special Air Mission 41’ for funeral

The remains of the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush began a final journey on Monday, traveling from Texas back to America’s capital city where he served four years in Congress, one at the helm of the CIA, eight as vice president and four in the White House.

Family and former staffers attended a brief departure ceremony Monday at a Texas Air National Guard base outside Houston, watching as a contingent of eight soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines took his flag-draped casket to the jet that typically serves as Air Force One – for a last trip to Washington. 

George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and his wife Laura, stood with hands on hearts alongside other family members on the tarmac while cannons fired a 21-gun salute and honor guards saluted. 

Then, with only a stiff-blowing breeze as a soundtrack, the military pallbearers placed the late president’s remains into the back of a liftable truck for positioning on the giant plane.

‘Bush 43’ and Laura, the former first lady, climbed the plane’s stairs and gave a somber wave, followed by the rest of of the extended family. 

A few minutes later ‘Poppy,’ as the grandchildren of the man who was once the U.S. military’s youngest fighter pilot called him, was airborne once more. 

A group of eight pallbearers representing branches of the U.S. armed forces took former president George H.W. Bush’s remains from a hearse and carried it to the Air Force One jet on Monday at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base near Houston

Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died Friday and will be laid to rest this week following four days of ceremonies and memorials

The remains of President George H.W. Bush will travel from Texas to Washington, D.C. on Monday aboard Special Air Mission 41, the temporary callsign of the plane that serves as Air Force One whenever the current president is on board

The remains of President George H.W. Bush will travel from Texas to Washington, D.C. on Monday aboard Special Air Mission 41, the temporary callsign of the plane that serves as Air Force One whenever the current president is on board

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush waved as they boarded the plane that once served as his Air Force One transport; on Monday they were aboard to accompany the remains of George’s father back to Washington

Bush’s casket wasn’t loaded directly onto the plane; military pallbearers placed it on a truck that is normally used to carry food and water to the four-engine jumbo jet; the truck’s cargo space is mounted on a scissor-lift that can reach an aft door

The Texas-based Bush clan including George Wl, Laura and Neil stood with hands on hearts during Monday morning's departure ceremony

The Texas-based Bush clan including George Wl, Laura and Neil stood with hands on hearts during Monday morning’s departure ceremony

Secret Service agents had carried the president’s body out of the George H. Lewis Funeral Home in Houston, placing it in a hearse for a motorcade-drive to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, where the world’s most famous aircraft awaited.  

As the somber procession took up the southbound lanes of Interstate 45, motorists driving along the northbound lanes pulled over in a miles-long show of respect.

The departure ceremony featured a 21-gun salute and a U.S. Army Band contingent from Fort Sill, Oklahoma playing ‘Hail to the Chief,’ plus the four ‘Ruffles and Flourishes’ trumpet fanfares that precede it. 

The late 41st president’s son Neil also accompanied his body on the unique Boeing 747, renamed ‘Special Air Mission 41’ for the flight, as it travels to Joint Base Andrews in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. 

Bush’s service dog, Sully, will be reassigned to a wounded warrior at Walter Reed Naval Medical Center near Washington. The dog was photographed lying in front of Bush’s casket at the funeral home on Monday. 

The pair of planes that serve as President Trump’s ‘Air Force One’ jets were first placed into service during George H.W. Bush’s time in office. They are scheduled to be retired in 2021. 

The Lincoln catafalque, a wooden platform that once supported the coffin of America's 16th president, was placed in the center of the Capitol Rotunda on Monday in preparations for the arrival of Bush's casket

The Lincoln catafalque, a wooden platform that once supported the coffin of America’s 16th president, was placed in the center of the Capitol Rotunda on Monday in preparations for the arrival of Bush’s casket

invited guests watched soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines carrying the flag-draped coffin on Monday morning

Pallbearers, all members of the U.S. Secret Service, brought Bush's casket out of a Houston funeral home Monday morning and loaded it into a hearse for a motorcade-drive to Ellington Field, where the presidential Boeing 747 awaited

Pallbearers, all members of the U.S. Secret Service, brought Bush’s casket out of a Houston funeral home Monday morning and loaded it into a hearse for a motorcade-drive to Ellington Field, where the presidential Boeing 747 awaited

Joint service members rehearsed on Sunday for the arrival of Bush's remains at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda

Joint service members rehearsed on Sunday for the arrival of Bush’s remains at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda

Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from Monday through Wednesday, when a state funeral is scheduled at the National Cathedral.

A contingent of former Bush staff members now living in Texas will join the mourners leaving Houston on Monday morning.

After a public viewing at an Episcopal church in Houston, Bush’s casket will be placed on a Union Pacific train car and pulled 70 miles to the town of College Station, home of Texas A&M University, where his presidential library is located. 

Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were honored in the same way, traveling to their final resting places on trains that Americans lined up to see as they passed.

Members of the military played 'Hail to the Chief' and accompanied a 21-gun salute with a long drum roll at Ellington Field

Members of the military played ‘Hail to the Chief’ and accompanied a 21-gun salute with a long drum roll at Ellington Field

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; Bush was known in his later years for wearing colorful novelty socks at public events

Brian Blake, a former director of communications at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum, pauses in front of a statue of the former president at the College Station landmark on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. "I need to be here," Blake said, who worked from 1997-2009 at the library. "He and Barbara were the most amazingly gracious people on the planet. I never felt like I was working for them, just always working with them." Bush, who died late Friday at his Houston home at age 94, is to be honored with a funeral service in the nation's capital on Wednesday, followed by burial Thursday at his presidential library in Texas. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The 41st President will be carried to his final rest wearing socks (left) that pay tribute to his lifetime of service, starting as an 18-year-old naval aviator; at right, Brian Blake, former communications director at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum, paused Saturday in front of a statue of the former president

The locomotive chosen for his final journey was customized in Bush’s honor in 2005 and painted with the number ‘4141’ in his honor. He marveled at its unveiling that year and asked to take it for a ride. 

On Thursday his casket will be in a train car with Plexiglas windows to allow people to see it during the trip. 

The 41st president died at his Houston home on Friday night, seven months after his wife Barbara passed away. 

After services in Washington, attended by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, there will be another funeral in Houston on Thursday followed by burial at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

Bush will be laid to rest alongside his wife of 73 years and Robin Bush, their daughter who died of leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

Trump tweeted late Monday morning: ‘Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.’

Neil Bush, right, and his family, walked out after the family service at the Lewis Funeral Home; Sully, the late president's service dog, exited with them

Neil Bush, right, and his family, walked out after the family service at the Lewis Funeral Home; Sully, the late president’s service dog, exited with them

Bush served two terms as vice president under fellow Republican President Ronald Reagan before winning his own White House term from 1989 to 1993.  

His time in office saw the end of the Cold War. Bush also presided over the United States’ routing of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s army in the 1991 Gulf War.

He failed to win a second term after breaking a ‘no new taxes’ pledge.

Remembrances to George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush sprang up over the weekend in the neighborhood where he made his home, at a memorial in a city park, and at the Houston airport named in his honor.

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Bush’s top military adviser, said Bush was the ‘perfect American’ for serving his country in so many different capacities and should be remembered for ‘a life of quality, a life of honor, a life of honesty, a life of total concern for the American people.’

‘He was a patriot. He demonstrated that in war, he demonstrated that in peace. He was able to demonstrate that in his four years of service,’ Powell said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week.’

After a public viewing at an Episcopal church in Houston, Bush's casket will be placed on a Union Pacific train car and pulled by this customized locomotive to his final resting place

After a public viewing at an Episcopal church in Houston, Bush’s casket will be placed on a Union Pacific train car and pulled by this customized locomotive to his final resting place

The 70-mile journey to College Station, Texas will take about 2-1/2 hours on Thursday; College Station is home to Texas A&M University, where Bush's presidential library and his family burial plot are located 

The 70-mile journey to College Station, Texas will take about 2-1/2 hours on Thursday; College Station is home to Texas A&M University, where Bush’s presidential library and his family burial plot are located 

As Monday's motorcade procession took up the southbound lanes of Interstate 45, drivers on the northbound lanes pulled over in a miles-long show of respect

As Monday’s motorcade procession took up the southbound lanes of Interstate 45, drivers on the northbound lanes pulled over in a miles-long show of respect

Sully, the late President Bush's service dog, lay in front of his casket at the funeral home in Houston on Monday

Sully, the late President Bush’s service dog, lay in front of his casket at the funeral home in Houston on Monday

Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days as a show of respect.

Bush’s passing puts him back in the Washington spotlight after more than two decades living the relatively low-key life of a former president. His death also reduces membership in the exclusive ex-presidents’ club to four: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One of Bush’s major achievements was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading neighbor Iraq in 1991. The war lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

A humble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over Japan. He joined the Navy when he turned 18.

Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, and forged a 73-year union that was the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history until her death. Bush enrolled at Yale University after military service, becoming a scholar-athlete and captaining the baseball team to two College World Series before graduating Phi Beta Kappa after just 2½ years.

Officials gathered Monday morning outside the George H. Lewis Funeral Home as they prepared for the departure ceremony

Officials gathered Monday morning outside the George H. Lewis Funeral Home as they prepared for the departure ceremony

The U.S. flag above the White House flew at half-staff in Bush's honor on Monday, along with flags at all other federal buildings

The U.S. flag above the White House flew at half-staff in Bush’s honor on Monday, along with flags at all other federal buildings

After moving to Texas to work in the oil business, Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s. He was elected to the first of two terms in Congress in 1967. He would go on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA and chairman of the Republican National Committee before being elected to two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

Soon after he reached the height of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, with public approval ratings that are the envy of today’s politicians, the U.S. economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great communicator – something even he acknowledged – was out of touch with ordinary people.

He was denied a second term by then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who would later become a close friend. The pair worked together to raise tens of millions of dollars for victims of a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

‘Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton of all people?’ he joked in 2005.

In a recent essay, Clinton declared of Bush: ‘I just loved him.’

FOUR DAYS OF CEREMONIES DURING FUNERAL WEEK FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH 

Former President George H.W. Bush will be honored during several public and private events in Houston and Washington before his burial Thursday in Texas. 

Four days of events for Bush, who died Friday at age 94, include a state funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral, a private service at his longtime church in Houston and public viewings in both cities. He will be buried next to his wife Barbara and their daughter Robin who died in 1953.

TRANSPORT FROM HOUSTON TO WASHINGTON

Bush’s body will be transported by a motorcade Monday morning from a Houston funeral home to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, a Texas Air National Guard base. The casket will be loaded onto a plane during a departure ceremony scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. CST and flown to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Relatives accompanying the casket will 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.

Houston will host a public tribute to Bush on Monday night. Mayor Sylvester Turner has urged attendees to wear colorful socks, a nod to the former president’s fondness for sporting loud socks often emblazoned with unusual patterns during public events.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Monday that Bush will be laid to rest wearing gray socks honoring his days as a naval aviator.

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, who ordered federal offices closed on Wednesday for a national day of mourning, is to attend with first lady Melania Trump.

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 Bush’s presidency and bears the number “4141” in honor of the 41st president. The casket will be in a car with Plexiglas windows to allow people to see it during the trip, according to family spokesman Jim McGrath.

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.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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