Days of ceremonies for the nation to say goodbye to former President George H.W. Bush and for him to be laid to rest will begin today (December 3rd), when his body will arrive in Washington, D.C., following his death Friday (November 30th) at his home in Houston at age 94. Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday (December 5th) morning. A state funeral will be held for him at Washington’s National Cathedral on Wednesday, which has been declared a national day of mourning with federal offices closed. Bush’s body will then be returned to Houston, where there will be a private service at Bush’s longtime church on Thursday, after which he will be buried on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
James Baker, who was a close friend of Bush and served as both secretary of state and chief of staff to him during his single-term from 1989 to 1993, was there Friday when Bush passed away. Baker appeared on five of the Sunday morning news shows yesterday to talk about Bush’s final hours, saying, “His sense of humor was intact right up till the very end. His passing was really very peaceful. No struggling, no pain at all.” Baker also said that when he arrived earlier in the day, Bush looked at him and said, “Bake, where are we going today?” and he answered, “We’re going to heaven.” He said Bush replied, “Good, that’s where I want to go.”
Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, posted a picture yesterday of the late president’s service dog, Sully, who he got in June, lying in front of his flag-draped casket. Sully helped open doors and pick up items for Bush and could also get help if needed.