Sunday 16 December 2018

Bush's faithful friend pays his tribute ahead of state funeral

Final farewell: George HW Bush’s dog Sully lies in front of the former president’s coffin in Houston. Photo: Reuters
Final farewell: George HW Bush’s dog Sully lies in front of the former president’s coffin in Houston. Photo: Reuters

Darlene Superville

Former US President George HW Bush's assistance dog Sully has honoured his master with his own tribute in front of the late leader's flag-draped coffin.

Mr Bush's spokesman Jim McGrath posted a picture of the yellow Labrador retriever with the caption "Mission complete. #Remembering41".

The 41st president died on Friday at his home in Houston at 94.

Sent off with a 21-gun salute, Mr Bush left his beloved Texas, being taken to Washington as the nation paid tribute to the former president for a lifetime of public service which began in the navy during World War II and ended with four years as president, and was characterised by what admirers said was decency, generosity and kindness.

A long motorcade accompanied the hearse from a Houston funeral home to nearby Ellington Field for the trip to the capital on an aircraft that often serves as Air Force One. Military artillery fired the salute, and servicemen carried the coffin to the plane.

Former president George W Bush, the eldest of the four Bush sons, and his wife, Laura, along with brother Neil Bush and his family, boarded the plane for the trip to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

On Sunday, students, staff and visitors had flocked to Mr Bush's presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University, with thousands of mourners paying their respects at a weekend candlelit vigil at a nearby pond and others contributing to growing floral memorials at statues at both the library and a park in downtown Houston.

"I think he was one of the kindest, most generous men," said Marge Frazier, who visited the downtown statue with friends from California.

A similar outpouring is anticipated in Washington this week during the state funeral.

Mr Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, will lie in state in the US Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visits until tomorrow. An invitation-only funeral service is set for tomorrow at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are to attend. Mr Bush's family have not said who will speak at the service. Former President Jimmy Carter also will be there.

Afterwards, Mr Bush 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 library grounds. 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 leukemia in 1953 at the age of three.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News