US BIDS FAREWELL TO GEORGE HW BUSH

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The US is bidding farewell to former President George HW Bush today (Wed) in a state funeral that brings together world dignitaries, US leaders and the 41st president’s friends and family.

The funeral began with a procession from the US Capitol to the National Cathedral.

All four living former US presidents, current President Donald Trump and several world leaders will attend the funeral in Washington, DC. Former President George W Bush, among others, will eulogise his father.

Today’s funeral caps off three days of remembrance of the Republican president who oversaw the post-Cold War transition and led the US during the Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

“America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush. While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude,” former President Barack Obama said after Bush’s death on Friday.

During a Capitol ceremony on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Bush, who died at the age of 94, was a “humble servant who loved his fellow citizens”.

Trump, whose relationship with the Bush family has been tense, put differences aside, hailing Bush’s “sound judgement, common sense and unflappable leadership”.

The son of a wealthy Republican US Senator, Bush served in the second world war and was elected to two terms in the US Congress in the 1960s.

President Richard Nixon became Bush’s mentor, appointing him ambassador to the United Nations in 1970.

While Nixon later resigned in disgrace, Bush went on to become head of the CIA in 1976.

He served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president for eight years, before entering the White House in 1989, pledging to make the US a “kinder, gentler” nation.

Bush served as president from 1989 to 1993, with the successful campaign to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait as his most significant accomplishment.

His popularity quickly faded due to his handling of domestic issues, setting up his election loss in 1992.