President George H.W. Bush was honored during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda by his family, friends, lawmaker on Monday (December 3) evening.
Members of the military stood at attention while the Bush family and the former president's Cabinet stood outside while pallbearers brought his casket into the Capitol building.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the first to speak, highlighting Bush's military career and his host of political achievements.
With his even temperament and hard-won expertise, George Herbert Walker Bush steered this country as straight as he steered that airplane. He kept us flying high and challenged us to fly higher still. And he did it with modesty and kindness that would have been surprising in someone one-tenth as tough and accomplished as he was.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the former president "personified grace" and embodied "the finest qualities of our nation and of humankind."
"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."
Vice President Mike Pence shared a touching personal story about the time the former president signed a photo and sent a handwritten note to his son, who is a Marine aviator. He echoed the sentiments of McConnell and Ryan, praising Bush's modesty and kindness.
"There was a kindness about the man that was evident to everyone who ever met him. All his years in public service were characterized by kindness, modesty and patriotism."
Bush will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday morning and the public will be allowed to pay their respects starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday night.
Bush passed away on Saturday at the age of 94. A state funeral will be held at the Washington National Cathedral, beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Former President George W. Bush, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, and presidential historian and biographer Jon Meacham will all deliver eulogies during the service.
Photo: Getty Images