Several politicians and Americans have been paying their respects to former President George H.W. Bush, who tragically passed away over the weekend.
On Monday, his casket draped in an American flag was brought to the U.S. Capitol for the Bush family and dignitaries to honor the 41st President.
Among those people was 95-year-old Bob Dole, a former presidential candidate and senator who is wheelchair bound.
Dole, who served in World War II with the late president, stood from his wheelchair to honor Bush with the help of an aide.
Dole also saluted his fellow veteran in a powerful and emotional moment that quickly went viral across social media.
Bob Dole, at 95 years old, stands from his wheelchair to salute George H.W. Bush in the Capitol Rotunda pic.twitter.com/z6NdG7exZx
— Axios (@axios) December 4, 2018
Bush defeated Dole in the 1988 Republican presidential primary and went on to serve one term in office before being defeated by former President Bill Clinton.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many others delivered moving comments at the Capitol.
“Thirty years ago on the west front of this capital, George. Herbert Walker Bush addressed the nation for the first time as our president,” McConnell said.
“The words of a humble servant who loved his fellow citizens and a principled leader who knew America not only guards at our own future but also safeguard democracy. For the world, today this hero has returned to the capital final time,” he added.
Vice President Mike pence also delivered a moving tribute in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday and told the story that involved his own son, Mike, a marine aviator who finally made his 1st tailhook landing on the USS George H.W. Bush.
Below is the full story:
I’m told that he started writing letters to his parents when he was 18 years old, and over time his circle of correspondence grew to include family, friends, advisers, staff, business associates, former Presidents, and just about anyone who would take the trouble to write him.
After a lifetime of writing letters, my son got one just not too long ago. As I told two of his sons this weekend, when our son made his first tailhook landing as a Marine aviator on the U.S.S. George Herbert Walker Bush, I took the liberty of writing that ship’s namesake to ask for a small favor.
I didn’t write to him as a Vice President to a former President, I just wrote as a proud dad of a Marine aviator to a former Navy pilot. I asked him to sign a picture of the flight deck that I could give to my son.
Now, we were told by the staff that the President had long since ended the practice of signing autographs, and we understood that. But little to my surprise, just in time for my son’s winging, there came not only a signed photograph, but, of course, a letter, hand-signed as well — August 2018. In that letter, President Bush wrote to my son, in his words, “Congratulations on receiving your ‘wings of gold.’ I know how proud you and your family are at this moment.”
And then in words that assured us that the letter came directly from him, he wrote, quote, “Though we have not met, I share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion. And I wish you many CAVU days ahead. All the best, G Bush.”
I would come to learn that that acronym, CAVU for short, is a term Navy pilots have used since World War II. It stands for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited.
President Bush described CAVU, in his words, as “the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific.” And he once wrote a letter to his children saying that CAVU, in his words, “describes my own life as it has been over the years, as it is right now.” Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited.
You know, that may well describe the essence of this man. And it may well have been his vision. The vision he had for his life, for his children, his children’s children, and his country: no barriers, no boundaries, no limits.
The state funeral for Bush will take place on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Then, the former president’s casket will be taken to College Station, Texas, to be laid to rest next to his late wife, Barbara Bush, at his presidential library.