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President George Bush – ’41’ – lies in state at US Capitol wearing special socks

Joint services military honor guards stand next to the flag-draped casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush on the Lincoln catafalque during a memorial service at the Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

When President H.W. Bush lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda starting Monday evening, while wearing a pair of socks that “pay tribute to his lifetime of service,” family spokesman Jim McGrath says.

Bush was long known for wearing colorful, often whimsical socks. Days before the Texas primary in March, he wore red, white and blue socks with emblazoned with the word “VOTE.” He also wore book-themed socks to his wife Barbara’s funeral in April to celebrate her commitment to literacy.

On Monday, McGrath tweeted a photo of gray socks with several small jets flying in formation with tiny jetstreams behind them. The former president flew more than 50 combat missions in World War II, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“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 in war,” McGrath tweeted. “That legacy is now being carried, in part, by the brave, selfless men and women” aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

A brief departure ceremony for the former president’s remains drew several family members to Ellington Field in Houston on Monday morning. The plane then left for Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, where an arrival ceremony was scheduled for later in the day.

Still another ceremony Monday will mark the body’s arrival at the Capitol before the public can begin to pay respects starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Bush will lie in state until Wednesday.

A funeral service is planned for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral, and President Donald Trump has said he will attend.

“Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush,” Trump tweeted Monday. Former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Bush’s son, George W. Bush also will attend.

Bush’s remains will then be flown back to Texas for a funeral Thursday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Burial is set for later Thursday at the site of his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, 100 miles northwest of Houston.

Bush is to be laid to rest beside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and daughter Robin, who was 3 years old when she died of leukemia in 1953.

Bush died Friday in his Houston home at age 94. His battle with vascular Parkinsonism had robbed him of his ability to walk. He had used a wheelchair since 2012.

In recent years the condition made it increasingly difficult for him to speak more than a few words at a time.

Vascular Parkinsonism is a rare condition that’s generally believed to be caused by small strokes that damage the same brain structures affected in Parkinson’s Disease. People with vascular Parkinsonism often experience a “lower body Parkinsonism” and have trouble walking and maintaining balance, the Parkinson’s Foundation says on its website.

The conditions is not considered a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Bush’s service dog Sully is among those mourning. An image McGrath posted on social media of the yellow Labrador retriever sleeping next to Bush’s flag-draped casket Sunday night quickly went viral.

James Baker, a close friend who served as secretary of state under the 41st president, spent much of Friday with Bush. Baker told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Bush began the last day of his life with three eggs for breakfast, and ended it by telling his oldest son he loved him.

Bush had been bedridden for several days, Baker said. But on Friday, he said, the former president appeared more alert than usual.

“We all began to think, well, here we are, he is going to surprise us again, it’s another bounce-back day,” Baker said.

But when Baker returned that evening, he said, Bush had weakened greatly. Baker said he spent the last of Bush’s hours with the former president as he called family members to say his goodbyes.

“They got 43 (George W. Bush) on the phone, and he said, ‘I love you, Dad,’ ” Baker said. “And 41 said, ‘I love you, too.’ And those were the last words he ever spoke.”


© 2018 USA Today

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