Americans Pay Their Respects To President George H.W. Bush At U.S. Capitol

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Former President George Herbert Walker Bush is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol, where his body will remain through Wednesday. 

The 41st president died late Friday at 94 years old.  Flags at the U.S. Capitol and White House have been lowered to half-staff in his honor.

It was a powerful moment inside the Capitol Rotunda, as one World War II hero honored another.

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole rose up out of his wheelchair to salute at the casket of President George H.W. Bush.

It was one of many touching moments as generals, politicians and civilians made their way through the Capitol Rotunda to pay their final respects.  

“You’re able to pause for a moment and reflect a little bit in the rotunda,” Mark Gaffigan of Maryland said.

Gaffigan says he remembers attending President Bush’s inauguration in 1989. 

“I feel very fortunate to come and honor a very great man,” Gaffigan said.

But for Lew Blevins, Bush was more than just the nation’s 41st president; he was his commander-in-chief.

“He was our leader,” Blevins said.

Blevins served in the Air Force under President Bush as full-time technician during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

“When I heard of his passing, the first thing I wanted to do was come here and pay my respects to such a wonderful man, such a wonderful human being and such a great leader of this country,” Blevins said.

President Donald Trump visited the Bush family to offer his condolences at Blair House, across the street from the White House.

The 41st president will lie in state at the Capitol until Wednesday morning.  Then he travels to the National Cathedral for an invitation only state funeral.  President Trump will be there, as will representatives from nations around the world.

President Trump has declared Wednesday, December 5 as a National Day of Mourning.

Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are all expected to attend the service.  The Prince of Wales will also be there.  

The private service will be livestreamed starting at 11 a.m. EST.

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