WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leaders eulogized former President George Herbert Walker Bush on Monday evening.
“While he was known as the quiet man, it was not for lack of nerve or daring. For in all of his 94 years, President Bush never lost his love of adventure and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country,” Pence said at a memorial ceremony for Bush held inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Pence called Bush “a great leader who made a great difference in the life of this nation.” He described the 41st president as “a good man, who was devoted to his wife, his family, and friends.”
“He reached the heights of power with uncommon humility. He made monumental contributions to freedom with a fundamental decency that resonates across generations. No one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said.
“Through the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s collapse, he kept us on course. When the rule of law needed defending in the Persian Gulf, he kept us on course,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) participated in a wreath-laying ceremony along with McConnell, Ryan and Pence.
Nearly all members of Congress attended the ceremony.
Seated across from the casket was the late president’s eldest son, former President George W. Bush, his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, and other members of the Bush family.
Former Vice President Dan Quayle, who served under Bush, also attended.
Bush’s body will lie in state in the Rotunda from Monday 7:30 p.m. to Wednesday 8:45 a.m. EST. Members of the public are invited to pay their respects during that time.
A state funeral service will be held at Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Following the service, the late president’s body will be taken to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and flown back to Houston.
That evening the body will be taken to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. The former president and his late wife of 73 years, Barbara, who died April 17, attended the church. Bush will lie in repose at St. Martin’s overnight.
On Thursday morning Bush’s remains will be taken from St. Martin’s via motorcade en route to the Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility in Spring, Texas.
The former president’s casket will be transported by funeral train about 67 miles northwest to College Station, Texas.
Bush’s body then will be taken to Texas A&M University. He will be interred at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is located on the campus. Barbara Bush is buried there.
Bush died Friday night at age 94. He had been in declining health for the past few years and was frequently in and out of the hospital.
Bush occupied the Oval Office from 1989-93.
During his tenure Eastern bloc nations gained independence, the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. led an international coalition that drove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.
Bush is survived by 4 children, 17 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.