Washington National Cathedral Service Memorializes George H.W. Bush


Former president George H.W. Bush’s casket has left the Rotunda to begin its journey to Washington National Cathedral, where a funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde and Cathedral Dean Marshall Hollerith will be among the clergy, according to the New York Times:

The main eulogy will be delivered by his eldest son, former President George W. Bush. Other tributes will be made by his friends, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada and former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, and by his biographer, the historian Jon Meacham.

Three of his granddaughters, Lauren Bush Lauren, Ashley Walker Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, will give readings. His hometown minister, the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson Jr., of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, will deliver a homily. And Ronan Tynan, the Irish soloist who sang to Mr. Bush on the last day of his life, will perform along with a variety of military musical groups.

The officiating clergy include the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Washington diocese; and the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, the dean of Washington National Cathedral. The minister of ceremonies is the Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan of the cathedral and the intercessor is the Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, the provost of the cathedral.

The cathedral’s bourdon bell will toll 41 times as Mr. Bush’s cortege moves from the Capitol to the cathedral. After the service, the coffin will be taken to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington for the flight back to Houston.

The order of service can be found here.

From the Washington Post:

On Wednesday morning, when George H.W. Bush’s casket is carried into the Washington National Cathedral, it will be set atop the same black-shrouded bier on which Abraham Lincoln and almost a dozen other presidents were once posthumously laid.

Like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, Bush will then be honored in the house of worship he himself saw completed as president 28 years ago.

From the BBC:

President Donald Trump, and predecessors Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will all attend the service.

The Prince of Wales, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II are among the world figures there to pay their respects.

“You’ll see a lot of joy,” Ron Kaufman, who worked as Mr Bush’s political director, said of the funeral.

“It’ll show the way of life that people took for granted in many ways and now kind of long for,” he told Reuters.

Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning – many government offices and US stock exchanges are closed.

After the funeral, Mr Bush’s body will be flown to Texas, where it will lie in public repose until Thursday morning.

There will be a second service before the Bush 4141 – a train which was named in honour of the president – takes his body to its final resting place at the George HW Bush presidential library.

Jim McGrath, who was Mr Bush’s spokesman, said the president had once wondered if anyone would attend his funeral.

A live stream can be found on sites including USA Today here, the New York Times here and the Washington Post here.


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry responded to Bush’s death several days ago: read here.

Image: Screen shot from Washington Post live feed.

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