World leaders and international dignitaries gathered at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday, with US leaders at the funeral service for George H.W. Bush.
The nation’s 41st president, who died Friday at age 94, laid in state for two days in the US Capitol rotunda, as President Donald Trump exchanged his usual aggressive posture for one of respect and solemnity.
The country’s five living presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Bush’s son George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump — attended the service at the Neo-Gothic spiritual center point of the US capital.
Dignitaries in the cathedral included Britain’s Prince Charles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, former Polish president Lech Walesa, former vice presidents Dick Cheney, Al Gore and Joe Biden and former secretaries of state James Baker, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
A telegram from the Vatican relayed Pope Francis’s “heartfelt condolences” to the Bush family.
George W. Bush and wife Laura stood stoically outside the US Capitol as an honor guard carried his father’s flag-draped casket to the hearse.
Tens of thousands of Americans quietly filed into the Capitol to pay their respects to a man who steered the nation through turbulent times including the end of the Cold War — and in a style dramatically different from the bombast and combativeness championed by the current commander-in-chief.
In a show of respect, Pennsylvania Avenue was lined with well-wishers as a cortege proceeded toward the cathedral in the first presidential funeral since Gerald Ford died in late 2006.