George H.W. Bush began his final voyage to Washington, DC — the capital city where he served as congressman, CIA director, vice president and president during a lifetime of public service — aboard the presidential jet designated as “Special Mission 41” for the solemn occasion.
The motorcade carrying his casket from the funeral home arrived Monday at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base outside Houston along a road lined with hundreds of onlookers.
The casket, draped in a US flag, was met by an honor guard of eight military members from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
As a military band played and cannons fired, family members, including son President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, met the hearse.
After the service, members carried the casket to Air Force One, and George W. Bush and other family members and former staffers of Bush 41 boarded the aircraft for the trip to Washington and the beginning of four days of national tribute to the late president.
Bush died late Friday at his Houston home at the age of 94.
A Secret Service detail assigned to protect Bush served as honorary pallbearers.
His longtime spokesman, Jim McGrath, said Bush, the last president to serve in combat as a pilot during World War II, will wear socks paying tribute to his military service.
“The 41st President will be carried to his final rest wearing socks that pay tribute to his lifetime of service, starting as an 18 year-old naval aviator in war. That legacy is now being carried, in part, by the brave, selfless men and women aboard @CVN77_GHWB,” McGrath tweeted on Monday.
The reference was to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush named after the president.
After Bush’s casket’s arrival at Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, it will be transported to the US Capitol, where Bush will lie in state in the Rotunda until Wednesday morning, when a state funeral will be held at the National Cathedral.