The remains of President H.W. Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda starting Monday evening as the nation's homage to its 41st president continues until his burial Thursday back in Texas.
The tributes to the 41st president are already well underway. A salute to Bush at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington drew an extended and heartfelt round of applause Sunday night.
"I think it's appropriate to recognize the passing of a wonderful man who dedicated his life to service and who graciously attended this event many times during his administration," said the show's host, Gloria Estefan.
Bush's service dog Sully is among those mourning. Sunday night, family spokesman Jim McGrath posted a photo on social media from Texas of the yellow Labrador retriever sleeping next to Bush's flag-draped casket. The image quickly went viral.
A departure ceremony for the former president's remains was set for Monday morning at Ellington Field in Houston before the body is flown to Washington. An arrival ceremony will be held later in the afternoon at Joint Base Andrews.
Another ceremony will mark the body's arrival at the Capitol. The public can begin to pay respects starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Bush will lie in state until 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday.
Bush's remains will then be flow back to Texas, where a funeral will take place Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. A burial is set for later Thursday at the site of his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, 100 miles northwest of Houston.
Bush will be laid to rest beside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and daughter Robin, who was 3 years old when she died of leukemia in 1953.
Bush died Friday in his Houston home at age 94. His battle with vascular Parkinsonism had robbed him of his ability to walk, and he had used a wheelchair since 2012. In recent years the condition made it increasingly difficult for him to speak more than a few words at a time.
Vascular Parkinsonism is a rare condition which is generally believed to be caused by small strokes that damage the same brain structures affected in Parkinson's Disease. People with vascular parkinsonism often experience a "lower body parkinsonism' and have trouble with walking and maintaining balance, the Parkinsons Foundation says on its website.
The conditions is not, however, considered a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
James Baker, a close friend who served as secretary of state under the 41st president, spent much of Friday with Bush. Baker told CNN's "State of the Union" that Bush began the last day of his life with three eggs for breakfast and ended it by telling his son he loved him.
Bush had been bedridden for several days, Baker said. But on Friday, the former president appeared more alert than usual, Baker said.
"We all began to think, well, here we are, he is going to surprise us again, it's another bounce-back day," Baker said.
But Baker said that when he returned that evening, Bush had weakened greatly. Baker said he spent the last of Bush's hours with him as the former president spoke on the phone to family members, saying his goodbyes.
"They got 43 (George W. Bush) on the phone, and he said, 'I love you, Dad,' " Baker said. "And 41 said, 'I love you, too.' And those were the last words he ever spoke."
Contributing: William Cummings and Ashley May, USA TODAY; Hana Khalyheh, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times
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