Trump leaves George H.W. Bush's funeral EARLY before the casket

In salute to Bush, a nod to passing of 'greatest generation'

Bush, president and patriarch, is home for Texas burial

"We are forever seat mates because of protocol", she said of Bush.

He will lie in repose at St Martin's Episcopal Church, where the Bushes worshipped for decades, until he is buried Thursday. "He's a amusing man", she said.

After three days of remembrance in Washington, a plane brought Bush's casket for his funeral's closing ceremonies in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. He will be laid to rest alongside his wife of 73 years, Barbara, who died earlier this year, and their daughter, Robin, who succumbed to leukemia in childhood.

"He taught us public service was noble and necessary", his son and the 43rd president, George W. Bush, told the invited guests at Washington National Cathedral. Neither Clinton, Obama nor Trump served in the military.

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, former applaud during a State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington.

For all the sombre tributes to the late president's public service and strength of character, laughter filled the cathedral time after time. He took comfort in knowing "Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again".

Bush, the 41st U.S. president, occupied the White House from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces from oil-rich Kuwait.

Also, in the front row was Democrat Bill Clinton, who defeated the elder incumbent Bush in 1992 to become president, and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 election.

The elder Bush was "the last great-soldier statesman", historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy, "our shield" in risky times.

Trump, the day before, spent 20 minutes visiting Bush family members, who were staying at Blair House, across the street from the White House.

Clinton stared straight ahead and the two made no eye contact. Vice-President Mike Pence shook Carter's hand. The Bushes and congressional leaders stood outside the US Capitol with hands on hearts as Bush's casket was carried out to a 21-gun salute.

Following the cathedral service, the hearse and a long motorcade drove to the National Mall to pass by the World War II Memorial, a nod to the late president's service as a World War II Navy pilot, then transferred his remains at Joint Base Andrews for the flight home with members of his family.

Since Bush's death, Trump has traded his usual provocative posture for one of respect and solemnity, tweeting before heading to the cathedral about "a day of celebration for a great man".

But Trump had taken pains to demonstrate unity since Bush's death, and declared yesterday a national day of mourning with many federal offices closed and Congress suspending votes.

Around the clock in the Rotunda over two days, thousands - many who had lined up in near-freezing temperatures for hours to enter the Capitol - paid their final respects to Bush, whose flag-draped coffin rested on the wooden catafalque built in 1865 for the casket of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

President Donald Trump had no speaking role during the Episcopalian service, a break from recent tradition and in accordance with George H.W. Bush's wishes.

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