Before former President George H.W. Bush died at age 94, Bush worried about how the world would react to his death.
Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath revealed the surprising anecdote, saying that the 41st President of the United States once feared that no one would show up to his funeral.
“Briefed in 2011 about his funeral and lying in state, the 41st President asked with typical humility, ‘Do you think anyone will come?’” he tweetedalongside an aerial photo from the service for the late former leader. “Tonight, people are waiting hours to pay their respects.”
Despite Bush’s concerns, thousands of people lined up in the past two days to pay their respects to the late president who has been lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since Monday.
The 41st president’s body will remain on the Lincoln Catafalque in the Capitol Rotunda through 7 a.m. ET Wednesday, as it will stay open to accommodate public mourners. Bush is the first president to lie in state since the death of Gerald Ford in 2006. Including Bush, only 32 people have ever lain in state in the Rotunda, including Sen. John McCain earlier this year.
“He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline ‘Robin’ Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or ‘Bucky’ Bush,” the statement continued.
On Monday, the late president’s son George W. Bush was visibly emotional while mourning his father during the state funeral at the Capitol Rotunda.
Supporting the eldest Bush sibling, 72, was his wife, former first lady Laura Bush and their twin daughters as well as his brothers Jeb Bush, 65, Neil Bush, 63, Marvin Bush, 62, and sister Dorothy Bush Koch, 59.
The family was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Tuesday evening, the Bushes returned to the Capitol Rotunda. George, Laura, Jenna, and Barbara were once again by their beloved patriarch’s side as they placed a hand on the flag-draped casket.
Along with the hundreds of visitors, Bush also had his most faithful pal, his service dog Sully, by his side.
In a heartbreaking photo posted to Instagram, Sully lies by Bush’s flag-draped coffin in a well-lit room, keeping the 41st commander in chief safe in death as he did in life. “Mission complete,” McGrath tweeted alongside the picture.
Sully has also been in attendance over the past few days at the Washington D.C. services while the former president is lying in state. The canine will then relocate to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to assist more veterans like Bush, according to CNN.