Washington to pay respects, bid farewell to George H.W. Bush

Sully former US president George H W Bush's service dog lies in front of his late former owner's casket

JGM41/TWITTERSully former US president George H W Bush's service dog lies in front of his late former owner's casket

Former president George W. Bush, the eldest of the four Bush sons, and his wife Laura, along with brother Neil Bush and his family, will accompany their father's body to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, said family spokesperson Jim McGrath. There is little love lost between the leading Republican families: in a book published a year ago, George HW Bush called Trump "a blowhard ... driven by a certain ego".

He will be buried in the family plot alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukaemia in 1953 at age 3.

Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning.

Bush Senior died at on Friday at the age of 94.

Mr Bush was a decorated World War II pilot, diplomat and onetime Central Intelligence Agency chief who saw his son George follow in his footsteps to the Oval Office - making them only the second father-son duo in American presidential history, after John and John Quincy Adams.

FILE - In this May 11, 2008 file photo, former President George H.W. Bush arrives on the South Lawn of White House in Washington.

After a speech from Vice President Mike Pence, Bush will lie in state in the US Capitol from Monday evening until Wednesday morning, under the watchful gaze of an around-the-clock honor guard. He will be honoured during several public and private events in Houston and Washington before his burial Thursday in Texas.

Former US president George H W Bush had been suffering from a form of Parkinson's before his death
MATT SAYLES APFormer US president George H W Bush had been suffering from a form of Parkinson's before his death

But each time he was hospitalised, each time loved ones thought that time might be the last, Bush rallied and was released, free to return to his home in Houston or the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AAP) President George H.W. Bush receives applause from Vice President Dan Quayle, left, and House Speaker Thomas Foley prior to delivering his first State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington in 1990.

While he and his wife, Susan, were on the way home after dinner, Baker said he was called back to Bush's bedside.

At the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Germany, told reporters she likely would never have become her country's leader had Bush not pressed for the nation's reunification in 1990.

Bush replied: "Good, that's where I want to go". About two hours later, Bush was gone. 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 2½ years.

Bush's son Jeb, Governor of Florida, retweeted the photo, with the simple words: "Sully has the watch".

Speaking to the media, America's VetDogs said Sully will stay at their NY headquarters over the festive season and then undergo physical and occupational therapy.

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