A heartbreaking image shows George H.W. Bush’s service dog lying next to the 41st President’s coffin in Houston on Sunday.
The image shows ‘Sully,’ a specially trained golden lab, mournfully lying down as Bush’s flag-draped coffin is seen a few feet from him.
The caption of the tweet says: ‘Mission complete.’
Sully was gifted to the elder Bush in June. His mission isn’t entirely complete, as it’s been reported by CNN that the dog will accompany the casket to Washington, D.C. on Monday.
Bush’s official Twitter account posted an image of Sully and another former President, Bill Clinton, on June 25 after Sully’s arrival.
The tweet read: ‘A great joy to welcome home the newest member of our family, “Sully,” a beautiful – and beautifully trained – lab from America’s VetDogs.
‘Could not be more grateful, especially for their commitment to our veterans.’
America’s VetDogs is a New York-based nonprofit group which provides service dogs to veterans in need.
After news broke of Bush’s passing on Saturday, America’s VetDogs tweeted a statement, saying: ‘America’s VetDogs is deeply saddened by the loss of President George H.W. Bush.
‘Our condolences go out to the Bush family at this time.’
The tweet was attached to an image showing Bush being pushed in a wheelchair while holding a leash as Sully walks beside him.
America’s VetDogs told KTRK-TV that Sully will return to its Smithtown, New York headquarters, where he will stay for the holiday season.
He is then expected to be transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facility Dog Program in Bethesda, where canines help wounded veterans as they undergo physical and occupational therapy.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family during this difficult time,’ said John Miller, President and CEO of America’s VetDogs.
‘It was truly an honor to have provided service dog Sully to be by the president’s side for the past several months.
‘As a true patriot and a visionary, President Bush will forever be viewed by people with disabilities and their families as a hero through his efforts to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act.
‘We are forever grateful to his service to the American people.’
Meanwhile, Air Force One arrived in Texas on Sunday to transport Bush’s body to Washington for a state funeral.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted a photo of the presidential plane on a tarmac Sunday afternoon.
The aircraft will be temporarily renamed and redesignated as ‘Special Air Mission 41’ as it is only referred to as Air Force One whenever the sitting President is on board.
McGrath wrote, ‘Air Force One has arrived in Houston for what will technically be called “Special Air Mission 41” tomorrow and Wednesday.’
He added: ‘A beautiful day In Texas – “ceiling and visibility unlimited,” Mr. President.’
The plane, known as Air Force 747, is only called Air Force One when the president is traveling in it.
The 41st president died late Friday at his Houston home at age 94.
McGrath also tweeted a photo of flowers and a wreath which were left near a statue of Bush at the Houston airport which bears his name.
‘Seen today at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston,’ McGrath tweeted.
‘Nice touch by the team.’
He will be honored during several private and public events in Houston and Washington before he is buried in Texas next to his wife, Barbara, and their young daughter Robin, who died in 1953.
President Donald Trump dispatched Air Force One to Texas to transport Bush’s body – a magnanimous gesture from a man who has historically been at odds with the Bush family.
Trump tweeted on Saturday: ‘President George H.W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life.
‘Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family.
‘His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all!’
Americans will begin saying goodbye to Bush on Monday when his body arrives in Washington for public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda – a rare honor that will be bestowed on a man who earned the respect and admiration of many with his leadership, bravery and grace.
The public viewing will kick off four days of events that will include a state funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral on Wednesday and a private service at Bush’s longtime church in Houston on Thursday.
The sports world also paid tribute to the 41st President this weekend.
‘Rest In Peace President Bush,’ tweeted Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt. The tweet included an undated photo of Watt visiting Bush.
USA Water Polo, the sport’s national governing body, tweeted: ‘We are sorry to hear about the passing of President George H.W. Bush.
‘We fondly remember his visit with our USA Women’s National Team during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.’
The tweet includes two photos of Bush meeting the team at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.
Major League Baseball’s television network aired a retrospective about Bush’s relationship with the National Pastime.
Case Keenum, the former quarterback for the Houston Texans, tweeted: ‘Two great men who aren’t with us anymore.
‘Thank you George H.W. Bush and Bob McNair for leaving a legacy that changed this country and me forever.
‘Have always been proud to be a Texan.’
McNair, the late owner of the Texans, died November 23 at the age of 81.
Another Houston sports star, Justin Verlander, paid tribute to Bush, tweeting a photo of the former President when he stood alongside the pitcher before a World Series game last year.
‘RIP,’ the tweet read.
Tilman Fertitta, the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, tweeted: ‘The Bush family is the most prominent & extraordinary political family in the history of our country.
‘I enjoyed his friendship and admired him as a great leader who truly loved this country.
‘An avid sports fan, Bush was a fixture at all Houston’s sport venues.
‘He will be missed.’
The Houston Astros baseball team’s owner, Jim Crane, released a statement which read: ‘President Bush was a great American who devoted his life to serving his country.
‘He epitomized class and dignity and was a true patriot.
‘The Houston Astros had the great privilege of hosting President Bush and his wife Barbara at Astros games for many years.
‘As loyal fans, they stuck with us through the challenging years and were there to celebrate Houston’s first World Series championship in 2017.
‘Game 5 of last year’s World Series is considered the most memorable and dramatic game in Astros history.
‘What made it even more special was that President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, were on the field that night taking part in the first pitch ceremony.
‘As our nation mourns his passing, our entire Astros organization sends heartfelt condolences to the Bush family. We will greatly miss him.’
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of college sports, paid tribute to Bush on its Twitter page.
The NCAA posted a photo of Bush in his Yale University baseball uniform.
During his college days, Bush was captain of the baseball team.
‘We mourn the loss of former President and Yale baseball captain George H.W. Bush.
‘He received the NCAA’s highest honor in 1986 – the Theodore Roosevelt Award.’
The award handed out each year by the NCAA to a college athlete who went on to become a ‘distinguished citizen of national reputation based on outstanding life achievement.’
Tributes from leaders around the world have been pouring in since his death Friday night.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called him ‘a perfect American’ for how ‘he served the country in so many capacities.’
‘He never forgot who he was,’ Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Bush’s presidency, told ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
‘He never let it all go to his head. He was a man of great humility.’
Bush will be buried Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
In Washington, D.C., he will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from 7:30pm Monday to 8:45am Wednesday.
Trump, who ordered federal offices closed for a national day of mourning on Wednesday, is to attend with First Lady Melania Trump and other high-ranking officials.
James Baker, Bush’s former chief of staff and secretary of state, called his boss’s tenure in office ‘a consequential presidency’ because of his foreign policy achievements.
‘Yes, he’s a one-term president … but he is going to be and was a very consequential one-term president. And I would argue far and away the best one-term president we’ve ever had,’ Baker told ABC’s This Week.
Bush’s crowning achievement as president was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading Iraq in 1991 in a war that lasted just 100 hours.
He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
At the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Germany, told reporters she likely would never have become her country’s leader had Bush not pressed for the nation’s reunification in 1990.
A humble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over Japan.
He enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday.
Shortly before leaving the service, he married his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, in a union that lasted until her death earlier this year.
‘He knew what combat was all about,’ Powell said on This Week.
”He knew that combat meant the death of people, people on your side and people on the other side. And so he wanted to avoid a war.’
Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s, being elected to his first of two terms in Congress in 1967.
He would go on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA and chairman of the Republican National Committee before being elected to two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president.
Soon after he reached the zenith of his political popularity following the liberation of Kuwait, the U.S. economy began to sour and voters began to believe that Bush, never a great orator, was out of touch with ordinary people.
He lost his bid for re-election to then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who would later become a close friend.
It wasn’t only former political rivals Bush found easy to befriend.
Roberto Molina, whose family owns Molina’s Cantina, one of Bush’s favorite Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston, said he remembers Bush’s kindness to his staff whenever he would stop by to eat.
‘No matter which party you’re affiliated with, everybody seemed to say the same things about President Bush,’ Molina said.
‘He was a down-to-earth person, approachable, and just a good man.’
SOURCE: Dailymail and AP, by ARIEL ZILBER