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George H.W. Bush’s state funeral arrangements: what we know

The former Republican president died Friday at age 94.

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Former President George H. W. Bush at an event in the East Room at the White House in 2013.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at age 94, will be honored with a state funeral this week, as is customary for former heads of state.

Bush, who was one of the last politically influential pragmatists in the Republican Party, will lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda before a funeral at the National Cathedral. After those ceremonies, his body will be returned to Texas for burial.

Political figures on both sides of the aisle have begun paying their respects and expressing condolences to the Bush family, from the Obamas to House Speaker Paul Ryan. President Donald Trump has also declared Wednesday, December 5, a national day of mourning.

The Bush family is partnering with the Department of Defense’s Joint Task Force–National Capital Region to put together the former president’s funeral. Air Force One will transport Bush’s remains to and from Washington, DC, this week; the travel has been dubbed “Special Mission 41.” You can find the full schedule of the funeral here.

What we know

  • Air Force One transported Bush’s coffin from Houston on Monday, and a bicameral arrival ceremony will be held at the US Capitol at 5 pm.
  • Former President Bush will lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda starting Monday, with the public invited to pay their respects from 7:30 pm that evening until 7 am Wednesday.
  • Bush’s funeral will take place on 11 am on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral. It will be just the 34th state funeral in Washington, DC in US history, and according to NBC News, on top of the 133 pages the Army manual lays out for state funerals, Bush gave the Military District of Washington a 211-page document detailing his wishes. Among his requests: that “Hail to the Chief” not be performed at his burial.
  • President Donald Trump has issued an executive order to close down most federal government offices on Wednesday as a mark of respect.
  • The ceremonies in the capital will be held at the National Cathedral, according to a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, with both Trump and the first lady in attendance:

President Trump is scheduled to speak with President George W. Bush this morning and offer his condolences on behalf of himself, the first lady, and the entire country. A state funeral is being arranged with all of the accompanying support and honors. The president will designate Wednesday, December 5th as a National Day Of Mourning. He and the first lady will attend the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

  • At least four people will deliver eulogies at Bush’s Wednesday service, according to CNN: President George W. Bush, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Sen. Alan Simpson, and presidential historian Jon Meacham.
  • A separate funeral service will take place on Thursday morning at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. There, Bush’s grandson George P. Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker are expected to speak.
  • On Thursday, Bush will be buried in a family plot at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, alongside his wife and daughter.
  • Further updates can be found at his presidential website.