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Body Of George H.W. Bush Returns To Washington

The remains of former President George H.W. Bush are carried to Special Air Mission 41 by a military honor guard before flying to Washington, D. C., Monday in Houston, Texas.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

An Air Force jet, designated "Special Air Mission 41," landed at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon, carrying the body of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.

The casket containing the remains of the 41st president was then transported to the U.S. Capitol rotunda, where Bush will lie in state until Wednesday morning's state funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

Bush was eulogized during a Capitol ceremony by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who called him "a humble servant who loved his fellow citizens," and a "principled leader who knew America not only guards our own future, but also safeguards democracy for the world."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., remembered volunteering for Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, including handing out literature at ballgames and at '"the Rock County 4-H fair."

He said Bush was the first president he ever voted for and was "the first president to teach me and many of us that in a democracy sometimes you fall short," and how you handle that, "is just as important as how you win."

Vice President Pence, remembering Bush's service as a naval aviator in World War II and his life in public service, said "he never failed to answer the call to serve his country."

Wreaths were placed at the casket by congressional leaders from both parties, as the Bush family, including former President George W. Bush looked on.

Later Monday night, President Trump and the first lady paid their respects to Bush at the Capitol Rotunda. The current president gave Bush, a decorated WWII naval aviator who flew several combat missions, a brief salute before the first couple left the Capitol.

After making the short trip back to the White House, Trump posted a video to Twitter with the hashtag #Remembering41. Earlier Monday, Trump had posted that he was "Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush."

Bush is the first president to lie in state since Gerald Ford, following his death in 2006. In August, the late GOP Sen. John McCain was the last public figure to lie in state there.

Bush's casket will be on public view until Wednesday morning, when it will be taken to the National Cathedral. Wednesday has been designated by President Trump as a national day of mourning, and most federal agencies will be closed with federal workers given the day off.

Bush died Friday night at his Houston home at the age of 94.

Following the funeral in Washington, Bush's casket will be returned to Houston, where a private service is scheduled for Thursday. His body will then be transported by a special train to its final resting place, the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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