'Mission complete': Bush's service dog lies by casket

Leroy Wright
December 3, 2018

When former US President George HW Bush's body travels to Washington DC to lie in state, he'll be accompanied by a military guard of honour - and his faithful companion: Sully the service dog.

Bush was USA president from 1989 to 1993.

The image shows the former President's service dog lying next to his coffin during a service in Houston. Howard heads the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, the almost 4,000-strong military task force that is overseeing the funeral.

His passing ushers in almost a week of remembrances and tributes in Washington, where Bush will lie in state at the US Capitol following a ceremony there Monday evening (Tuesday NZT). Details of public access are yet to be announced.

Barack Obama, who served as President from 2009 to 2017, and Bill Clinton, who took over from Mr Bush in 1993 and served until 2001, are expected to be at the service alongside George W Bush (01-09).

"I also loved to hear him explain his passion for this country - it was a true love that knew no petty boundaries or party lines", said Schwarzenegger in his message.

Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, and forged a 73-year union that was the longest presidential marriage in US history until her death. Bush's body will lie in repose there from 6:45 p.m. local time on December 5 until at 6 a.m. on December 6, with a guard of honor in attendance.

On Friday, a private funeral service with about 1200 invited guests will be held at the church.

At 11:15 a.m., after a departure ceremony, the remains will be transported by motorcade to the Union Pacific Railroad's Westfield Auto Facility in Spring, Texas.

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Monday's launch from Kazakhstan is the first successful manned mission to the space lab since an aborted Soyuz launch in October. Anne McClain, the 39-year-old former military pilot and NASA astronaut, said the crew looked forward to going up.

The plans for Bush's funeral were all put into place before Trump was ever elected, sources tell CNN. Trump directed the presidential plane - called Air Force One when the sitting President is aboard - to pick up Bush's casket and transport it to Washington.

The train is scheduled to arrive in College Station on Friday around 10:45am NZT.

The photo touched the hearts of many Twitter users.

Bush is one of the few who had a Navy ship named after them while they were still alive.

The Facebook page for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum also shared the image.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney, whose nine years in power overlapped with Bush's four, said in a written statement that he and his wife share in the Bush family's grief.

He passed away while surrounded by his family members and others.

Bush, who died at his Houston home at age 94, will be buried Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University. There, he cancelled a press conference "out of respect for President Bush" and ignored a reporter who asked if he regretted any of his comments about Bush or his family.

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