George HW Bush : World leaders gather to pay tribute to late president

Former and current world leaders will be among the mourners at the funeral of former US president George HW Bush.

Photo : Philly

 

Four former US presidents as well as former and current national leaders from around the world will be among the mourners at the state funeral in Washington of George HW Bush.

The 41st US president, who died at his Houston, Texas home on Friday at the age of 94, will be remembered on Wednesday at a service at Washington National Cathedral.

Eulogies are to be given by Bush’s son, former president George W Bush, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, former US senator Alan Simpson and presidential historian Jon Meacham, according to news reports.

Trump, who called fellow candidate Jeb Bush, a son of George HW Bush, “weak” and “low energy” during the 2016 presidential campaign, is not scheduled to speak.

He and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects at the US Capitol, where Bush lay in state, on Monday evening and met on Tuesday evening with George W Bush, his wife Laura and other members of the Bush family.

All three other living former US presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – and their wives are scheduled to attend the funeral. Former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama also will attend.

Among the foreign leaders attending will be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called Bush a “stroke of luck in German history” and praised his role in transatlantic relations.

Bush, a strong backer of German reunification during his time in office, served between 1989 and 1993, presiding over the end of the Cold War.

Prince Charles, former British prime minister John Major, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove and Polish President Andrzej Duda are also to attend, according to a list provided by Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.

The former president’s funeral is scheduled to begin at 11am local time on Wednesday after the casket carrying Bush’s body is transported in a motorcade from the Capitol to the cathedral.

Trump proclaimed Wednesday a national day of mourning and issued an executive order closing the federal government in honour of Bush. US financial markets also will be closed.

The US military along with law enforcement authorities in Washington are in charge of the funeral. Nearly 4000 military and civilian personnel from all branches of the US armed forces are involved in the ceremonies.

“This state funeral is a culmination of years of planning and rehearsal to ensure the support the military renders President Bush is nothing less than a first-class tribute,” said Major General Michael L Howard.

Bush’s remains will be flown back to Texas on Thursday for burial alongside his wife Barbara, who died in April.

The 41st president, who late in his life became known for wearing colourful socks, will be buried wearing socks that bear an image of five fighter jets ascending as a tribute to his lifetime of service, McGrath said on Twitter.

Bush is the last US president to have fought in World War II. He volunteered at age 18 in 1942, became a Navy pilot and flew 58 missions.

Source :

SBS

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