President George H.W. Bush Lies In State: Watch Live Stream
May 7, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC — Crowds of mourners filed through the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Tuesday to pay their respects to President George Herbert Walker Bush, who will be lying in state until Wednesday morning. The 41st president died in Houston on Friday, Nov. 30, surrounded by loved ones. He was 94 years old.
The tradition of lying in state at the Capitol dates back to 1852, with the passing of Henry Clay. Bush is the 12th president to lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda. The last president to lie in repose was Gerald Ford in 2006.
C-Span Live Stream: Viewing in the Capitol Rotunda SEE ALSO: Delays, Road Closures During President Bush DC Funeral Procession
People of all ages and political persuasions silently gathered around Bush’s flag-draped casket to pay their respects. Mourners described the ceremony as solemn, amazing, and overwhelming.
Becky Bray, a D.C. resident, has seen the coffins of two past presidents: J. Edgar Hoover and John F. Kennedy. After seeing Bush lie in state, she said it was amazing how close she could get to his casket.
“I was impressed that [officials] let us stand [there]. They didn’t make you keep walking. They let you stay as long as you wanted,” Bray said. “To be that close to a president, it’s pretty amazing.”
Joseph Lankard, a resident of the D.C. metro area, said walking into the Rotunda “was like walking into the Sistine Chapel.”
“When I walked into the Rotunda, my thought was this was like walking into the Sistine Chapel — with the statues, and all the paintings, and then looking up and seeing the whole dome. That’s something you’ve seen your whole life. And then to be standing there in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, is just unbelievable,” Lankard said.
“Looking at the casket and realizing his casket is on the catafalque that Lincoln’s body was on, and other presidents, and Rosa Parks, and just thinking about Jackie and Caroline Kennedy coming up to President Kennedy’s casket, and kissing it. I’m standing there in the same room, in the same spot, that all of that happened,” Lankard continued. “For a kid who, grew up at age six, could name all 40 presidents at that point — just being there in that presence was overwhelming.”
Lankard, who regretted not seeing other notable figures lie in state, said he enjoyed seeing the changing of the funeral guard.
“As soon as I walked in, they did a changing of the guard and that was just unbelievable to watch. I mean, I actually stood there for a full half hour to watch it again,” Lankard said.
Bray, like other people who visited the Capitol, offered praise for the late president.
“I think everything I read [about Bush] is so true. A gentleman, fair, polite, a father, a grandfather — all the positive aspects.”
The public will be able to pay their respects to the president until 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
On Wednesday, a motorcade will take Bush’s body to the Washington National Cathedral. An 11 a.m. memorial service will be held for family and friends.
Former President George W. Bush will deliver a eulogy for his father at the Washington National Cathedral, according to multiple outlets.
CNN reports George H.W. Bush will also be eulogized by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, presidential historian Jon Meacham, and U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson.
President Donald Trump, who is expected to attend, will not speak at the funeral, sources tell CNN. Other attendees include former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.
Around 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Bush’s body will be flown to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. He will later be buried in his family plot behind the Bush Library at Texas A&M alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year. The plot is also home to their daughter, Robin, who died in 1953 at the age of 3.
This story will be updated.
Lead Photo: World War II veteran Emory Crowder, 95, center right, pays his last respect to fellow soldier former President George H.W. Bush as he lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)