President George H.W. Bush began his last journey to our nation's capital on Monday.
Bush, who died Friday at age 94, will lie in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol until Wednesday. Thousands of mourners, from high government officials to ordinary citizens, are expected to pay their respects.
Later Wednesday there will be a state funeral at the National Cathedral. While there is no word yet on the number of invited guests, you can be sure current President Donald Trump and all living former presidents will be there to pay tribute to the man who exemplified honor and duty to this country. Indeed, despite contentious relations between Trump and his family, Bush made it clear that he wanted the president there. To the very end he showed the class and dignity he was known for.
Bush was, in many ways, the last of his breed. Born a patrician, educated at rarefied prep schools and the Ivy League, he served with distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
After coming home he entered the oil business. He did well, but public service called. And Bush answered.
During his first campaign for a Texas U.S. Senate seat—which he lost—Bush flew in and out of Texarkana Airport in September of 1970 and rode in the Four States Fair Parade. He bounced back and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bush later served as Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China and director of the CIA.
In 1980 he was elected vice president in the landslide victory that swept President Ronald Reagan into the White House. In 1988 his fellow Americans chose him for the nation's highest office.
The economy and a third-party challenge from Texarkana's own H. Ross Perot made him a one-term president. But he continued public service after the presidency, remaining active in many humanitarian causes. In 2000 he saw his oldest son, George W. Bush, follow him into the White House.
In April, Bush lost his wife of more than 60 years, Barbara. Now he joins her for eternity.
George H.W. Bush was a fine man, a fine public servant, a fine president. He will be missed.