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Former President Bush's body lies in state

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The body of former US President George HW Bush has arrived at the US Capitol in Washington, for two days of official mourning and a state funeral.

The body of former US President George HW Bush has arrived at the US Capitol in Washington, where mourners will pay tribute to the man who led the nation as the Cold War ended.

With hands on hearts, members of Bush's cabinet, lawmakers and Supreme Court justices honoured the 41st president as his flag-draped casket entered the Capitol Rotunda.

The Bush family, led by son and former President George W Bush, accompanied the patriarch's body on the flight aboard Air Force One from Texas to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, and then on a final trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to the steps of the Capitol.

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Trump, well wishes, pay tribute to former President Bush
Trump, well wishes, pay tribute to former President Bush

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the first official to speak in the Rotunda, described George HW Bush as a "humble servant" and "a principled leader."

"He kept us flying high and challenged us to fly higher still, and he did it with modesty and kindness that would've been surprising in someone one-tenth as tough and accomplished as he was," McConnell said.

The body of the Republican former president will lie in state at the Rotunda through Wednesday, when a state funeral is scheduled at the Washington National Cathedral.

Mourners began lining up at the Capitol to pay respects to Bush, who died at his Houston home on Friday night at the age of 94, seven months after the death of his wife Barbara.

Many spoke of Bush's role in a bygone era of bipartisan civility in US politics, a sharp contrast to today's bitter divisions in the age of President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican.

After services in Washington, there will be another funeral in Houston on Thursday, followed by burial at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

Bush served two terms as vice president under fellow Republican President Ronald Reagan before his own stint in the Oval Office from 1989 to 1993, a time that saw the end of the Cold War as well as the United States' routing of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's army in the 1991 Gulf War.

He failed to win a second term after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge.

Trump has ordered the federal government to close on Wednesday and both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed in observance.

Remembrances to George and Barbara Bush sprang up in the Houston neighbourhood where they made their home, at a memorial to President Bush at a city park and at the airport named in his honour.

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