A military band played “Hail to the Chief,” cannons sang out a 21-gun salute and the presidential jet took to the sky, lifting former President George H.W. Bush away from Washington one last time.
The capital gave a solemn but fervent farewell Wednesday to the 41st president, whose death Friday at 94 launched a week of commemorations for a man acclaimed as one of the most decent to hold the White House, and at a particularly consequential time for the nation’s history.
“He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism. He stood in the breach in Washington against unthinking partisanship. He stood in the breach against tyranny and discrimination. And on his watch, a wall fell in Berlin, a dictator’s aggression did not stand and doors across America opened to those with disabilities,” Jon Meacham, a Bush biographer, eulogized at Washington National Cathedral.
The service was the capstone to three days of mourning in Washington for Mr. Bush, giving thousands of residents and tourists a chance to stream by his casket as it lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
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