Thousands waited in line at the U.S. Capitol Building Rotunda on Monday night to mourn President George H.W. Bush, who died at age 94 on Friday. The 41st president of the United States is lying in state through Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. EST.
He is only the 12th U.S. president to be laid in state in the Capitol building.
The Rotunda opened to the public on Monday evening, after his family and former colleagues gathered for a bicameral arrival ceremony earlier in the day.
Bush’s spokesperson Jim McGrath confirmed his death on Friday, writing in a statement, “George Herbert Walker Bush, World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America, died on November 30, 2018. He was 94 and is survived by his five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings.”
“He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline ‘Robin’ Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or ‘Bucky’ Bush.”
On Monday, Bush family pastor Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Bush’s death was “as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have,” adding that “he was so much at peace and so ready … he acknowledged and believed God was ready to receive him.”
Before Bush’s body arrived at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews on Monday, students, staff and visitors flocked to his presidential library at Texas A&M University on Sunday. Thousands of mourners paid their respects at a candlelight vigil and flower memorials in front of the school’s library and a park in downtown Houston.
On Wednesday, Bush will be eulogized by his son, former President George W. Bush, in a service at the National Cathedral. All of the living U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Trump — are expected to attend.
Bush’s body will then be taken back to Houston, Texas, where he will ultimately be buried in a family plot on Thursday.