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At Capitol Bush saluted as ‘gentle soul,’ ‘great man’

The nation’s capital embraced George H.W. Bush in death Monday with solemn ceremony and high tributes to his service and decency, as the remains of the 41st president took their place in the Capitol rotunda for three days of mourning and praise by the political elite and everyday citizens alike.

With Bush’s casket atop the Lincoln Catafalque, first used for Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 funeral, dignitaries came forward to honor the Texan whose efforts for his country extended three quarters of a century from World War II through his final years as an advocate for volunteerism and relief for people displaced by natural disaster.

President from 1989 to 1993, Bush died Friday at age 94.

In an invocation opening Monday evening’s ceremony, the U.S. House chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J Conroy, praised Bush’s commitment to public service, from Navy pilot to congressman, U.N. ambassador, envoy to China and then CIA director before being elected vice president and then president.

“Here lies a great man,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and “a gentle soul. … His legacy is grace perfected.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell also spoke.

But political combatants set aside their fights to honor a Republican who led in a less toxic time and at times found commonality with Democrats despite sharp policy disagreements. Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, past and incoming House speaker, exchanged a warm hug with George W. Bush and came away dabbing her face. Read more

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At Capitol Bush saluted as ‘gentle soul,’ ‘great man’

The nation’s capital embraced George H.W. Bush in death Monday with solemn ceremony and high tributes to his service and decency, as the remains of the 41st president took their place in the Capitol rotunda for three days of mourning and praise by the political elite and everyday citizens alike.