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Saturday 21 September 2019

In Pictures: Ceremonies for George HW Bush draw presidents and citizens

The four living ex-presidents are among those expected for a service of prayer in Washington.

Pigeons fly past the U.S. Capitol before the departure of the funeral procession carrying the body for former U.S. President George H. W. Bush in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Pigeons fly past the U.S. Capitol before the departure of the funeral procession carrying the body for former U.S. President George H. W. Bush in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The casket of former US President George H.W. Bush sits in the hearse on the East Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS
The casket of former US President George H.W. Bush sits in the hearse on the East Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS
Former first lady Laura Bush and former U.S. President George W. Bush ride to the U.S. Capitol to join the funeral procession for former U.S. President George H. W. Bush in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A military honor guard carries the remains of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush upon arrival at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young
A military honor guard bears the casket of the late former President George H.W. Bush to a waiting hearse as it departs the U.S. Capitol enroute to the National Cathedral for funeral services, Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
A joint service honor guard loads the casket of former US President George H.W. Bush into the waiting hearse on the East Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS
Former president George W. Bush watches as the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard into a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS
Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush watch as the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard to a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Former US President George W Bush and members of the Bush family watch as a joint service honor guard carries the casket of former US President George H.W. Bush out of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 05 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS
The flag-draped casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is carried by military pallbearers past U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter as it arrives at his state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A military honor guard places the casket at the alter during the state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush arrives carried by a military honor guard during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in the front row at the state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump reaches over to shake hands with former President Barack Obama as he takes his seat in the first row along with former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton at the state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Calvin Woodward, Laurie Kellman and Ashraf Khalil

Washington is bidding its final farewell to George HW Bush in a service of prayer and praise that is drawing together world envoys, Americans of high office and a guy from Maine who used to fix things in Mr Bush’s house on the water.

A viewing for the 41st president at the hushed Capitol Rotunda closed on Wednesday morning, and his coffin was carried to Washington National Cathedral for a state funeral.

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The hearse carrying the flag-draped coffin (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The ceremony caps three days of remembrance by dignitaries and ordinary citizens as they honour the Republican president who oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led a successful Gulf War, only to lose a re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

The four living ex-presidents – Jimmy Carter, Mr Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama – are due at the service, and Bush Jnr will eulogise his father.

President Donald Trump will attend but is not scheduled to speak.

Also attending: one king (Jordan), one queen (Jordan), two princes (Britain, Bahrain), Germany’s chancellor and Poland’s president, among representatives of more than a dozen countries.

Also expected in the invitation-only crowd is Mike Lovejoy, an electrician and fix-it man who has worked at Mr Bush’s Maine summer estate since 1990 and says he was shocked and heartened to be asked to come.

On Tuesday, soldiers, citizens in wheelchairs and long lines of others on foot wound through the Capitol Rotunda to view Mr Bush’s coffin and honour a president whose legacy included Second World War military service and a landmark law affirming the rights of the disabled.

Former senator Bob Dole, a compatriot in war, peace and political struggle, steadied himself out of his wheelchair and saluted his old friend and one-time rival.

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Bob Dole pays his last respects (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

After the national funeral service at the cathedral, Mr Bush’s remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial on Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukaemia in 1953 at the age of three.

Mr Trump ordered the federal government closed on Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days.

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Sully the dog (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Mr Bush’s service dog Sully was taken to the coffin viewing — his main service in the months since Mrs Bush’s death in April being to rest his head on her husband’s lap.

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