Thousands pay their respects to 41st president

Ian Bush
December 03, 2018 - 10:22 pm
Crowds at foot of Capitol await the arrival of the 41st President.

Ian Bush/KYW Newsradio


WASHINGTON (KYW Newsradio) — Thousands of people stood outside the Capitol building in the Monday night cold waiting for their chance to be among the first to pay respects to the 41st president.

The Capitol Rotunda is usually one of the most bustling places in Washington D.C. Tour groups from around the world marvel at the architecture and feel the history as lawmakers and staff maneuver through the crowds. 

But now, the domed room is quiet. Respectful. 

Those inside are here for one reason, for one man: George H.W. Bush, whose body rests in a casket atop a catafalque first constructed to honor Abraham Lincoln's remains. 

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To gain access, some waited here outside the Visitor Center for 8 hours. They would meet people from northeastern Pennsylvania, from Arizona, from Massachusetts and Canada, hoping this somber moment will be the bridge builder much needed in this rancorous political climate. 

Each person who passes through the Visitor Center doors on their way to the Rotunda receives a memorial card with a color picture of the late President and, from his family, a message of thanks for prayers and kindnesses as his life is honored and celebrated.