They arrived on Tuesday from worlds that often seem so far apart, current and former elected officials, secret service chiefs, and foreign dignitaries, alongside federal workers, college students, and other Americans Everyday stood. They came together to meet each other by George H.W. to adopt. Bush, the former president of the patrician, who had devoted himself to public service for years.
Many people flocked to the Capitol rotunda for a quiet moment and saw Bush's coffin clad in the flag while he was in the state. Among those present were Bush's relatives, people serving as commander-in-chief, and former political rivals, including former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and the Republican presidential candidate.
Dole twice competing with Bush The Republican nomination approached the coffin in a wheelchair. A counselor helped him to stand in front of Bush's body. With his left hand greeted Dole Bush, who like him was a World War II veteran.
Jeb Bush, son of the late president, wrote on Twitter of the moment: "Simply unbelievable. Thank you, Senator Dole. Bush died in Texas last week and will be in Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday morning. His body was brought to the Capitol on Monday to begin days of honors in Washington and Texas, which will include a national day of mourning and a state funeral on Wednesday.
A parade of prominent names took place on Tuesday to say goodbye to the 41st President, their performances reflect chapters from his notable resume. Colin L. Powell, whom Bush named Chief of Staff, met with generals serving under Bush during the 1991 Gulf War. Gina Haspel, the CIA director, turned to John Brennan and others who had followed in Bush's footsteps as they ran the agency.
Congressmen Bush had been serving for four years floated in and out, as did the Republican National Committee Committee, which was once headed by Bush. Former intelligence leaders as well as the South Korean Foreign Minister and the former Kuwaiti Prime Minister came through. A number of Bush's relatives, including several first cousins, came in and touched his casket before they came out.
Recent additions to Bush's life have appeared. Sully, the unwavering companion dog who accompanied Bush in the final months of his life and was the subject of a virus photography tweeted by his former presidential president briefly took a seat in the rotunda.
When an ex-president dies, the public mourning process offered by lying in the state gives the American public the chance to say goodbye. Bush is the 12th President of the Capitol, a tradition dating back to Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, though not every president was honored in this way. (After Nixon died in 1994, his family decided not to leave him in the state, and then advisor David Gergen speculated at the time that Nixon might have decided against it because he "often thought Congress had tormented him." )
The First One person who had memorialized in this way was Henry Clay, a former Senator and Speaker of the House, in 1852, the House of Representatives said. In recent years, the honor has also been awarded to Senators Daniel Inouye and John McCain.
The tradition offers a brief period of silence in an unsteady time, a ritual that crystallizes the moment in which the country formally mourns and says goodbye. There have not been many presidents in the relatively recent history of the nation, and Bush's death leaves only four living former presidents and President Trump.
Prior to Bush, Ronald Reagan was the last presidents to lie in the state's vice president – in 2004, and just over two years later Gerald Ford, who was also veteran, Congressman, and vice president of World War II, before becoming president. Statues of both men decorate the rotunda in which Bush's body is located.
When they remembered these men, on Tuesday a lot of Americans came to the Capitol with folded hands, gloomy looks and a few tears. The mourners began to climb two flights of stairs long before the sun rose to gather an American-flagged casket surrounded by three flower wreaths and an honor guard. For some, he was president while working for the government; others knew him only as a figure from their textbooks or as the father of the 43rd President.
Bush was dismissed after a term in favor of the then Arkansas governor. Bill Clinton, who himself was followed by George W. Bush eight years later. In 2016, Jeb Bush sought the Republican nomination, but he was defeated by Trump, who came to his respect on Monday night.
Trump tweeted that he would be visiting the Blair House with the Bush family, and that First Lady Melania Trump would give Laura Bush, one of her predecessors, a tour of the Christmas decorations.
"The former First Lady will come to the White House this morning to see the Christmas decoration of Melania," Trump wrote. "The elegance and precision of the last two days have been remarkable!"
The line, which was to penetrate inward, grew during the day and extended into barricades along First Street. A tour guide said she expected the line to be bloated at the end of the workday and said this was the case when the masses came to honor McCain and Ford. By the afternoon, some said it took an hour and a half to get in some dark moments.
The propriety of the moment was not strictly observed. Occasionally a cellphone rang in the rotunda, while a photographer trying to get photos of Sully dropped to the floor and almost blocked the path of mourners in wheelchairs. And while posters told visitors not to take photographs, there were several, including a man who seemed to be taking a selfie in front of the casket.
But most of the time it was a solemn event, especially during the appearance of Dole and the change of guard. Those who came said that they in part yearned for an earlier time.
Daniel Bean, a runner who had changed his way on Tuesday to lock in the Capitol so he could attend the visit, said he missed the way Bush behaved in public office.
"I was pretty impressed with his behavior. You just can not see it anymore, "said Bean, 63, of Upper Marlboro, who joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1990, two years after Bush's election." I miss his way of doing things. "
Bean signed a condolence book before he left, one of several people available for signing, and visitors were given a card with a picture of Bush, a family thank-you letter, and a resume listing his role in the government.
Claire McGuire, a district adviser who attended Bush's inauguration, felt compelled to do so, she said, "I'm really happy to be here, and I feel like I'm really coming ", she said.
Nolean Deskins, a state budget that has worked under Richard Nixon under each president, called Bush the best president to serve under-especially when it comes to hiring went by workers in the states. "
Some came from far away to say goodbye. Richard Juliana, a funeral director, and his 18-year-old son, Christian, set off at four in the morning in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to attend the screenings. Hours before sunrise, they both tied American ties around their necks to dress for the occasion.
"He was the last veteran of World War II to serve as president – really the last of his kind," said the older Juliana. "I never met him. I wish I had done it.
Juliana's father, James Juliana, had served as Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration and told first hand Bush's stories. It was this family connection that made Richard Juliana feel like being here and personally getting his own son to pay their respects, he said.
They arrived in Capitol shortly after 8am and immediately returned to Pennsylvania.
"I was obviously not alive when he was elected," said Christian Juliana. "This generation and this time period seems long gone."
Fleming El-Amin (66) came to the Capitol at midday with his wife Cassaundra El-Amin (67). The couple had come from Winston-Salem, NC, to look at Bush's body, decades after he met him, when he attended Wake Forest University. For Fleming El-Amin, the death of the president does not mean the end of an era.
"There is always hope for tomorrow," he said.