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Americans mourn passing of former US President George H.W. Bush

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A woman lays flowers at the gate of the residence of former US President George H.W. Bush who died on Friday at the age of 94. Xinhua

HOUSTON (Xinhua) – Americans from all walks of life have begun streaming into the residence of former US President George H.W. Bush who passed away on Friday night in Houston, Texas, at the age of 94.

Many of them bearing flowers stopped by the George H.W. Bush monument, which is located in the northwest of downtown Houston, to honor the country’s 41st president.

The White House said on Saturday morning that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will attend a state funeral for the former president at the National Cathedral in central Washington D.C.

Mr Trump, the 45th US president, will designate Wednesday, Dec. 5 as a national day of mourning for the former president, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Texas officials said on Saturday that ceremonies are also in the works in the former president’s hometown of Houston and in College Station, about 160 km northwest of downtown Houston, the site of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. His wife, Barbara, and their daughter Robin, who died at age 3, are buried there.

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott said in a statement that the former president was one of the greatest presidents of the country, praising the 41st president as “an American hero and icon.”

The governor said in the statement that “Texans are genuinely honored that he called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss.”

Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner also issued a statement on the death of the former president. He said that “to Houstonians he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbours. He and his wife Barbara Bush were our sports teams’ biggest fans, and boosters for everything Houston. The Bushes could have moved anywhere after his time in public office, but they chose to return to their beloved city where he started his political career as the chair of the Harris County Republican Party.”

Born on June 12, 1924 in US state of Massachusetts, Mr Bush joined the US Navy upon finishing high school in 1942. His wartime duty was spent in the Pacific flying a three-man Avenger torpedo bomber.

He served until September 1945, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948 with a degree in economics, he moved his family to West Texas, where he entered the oil business and became a millionaire by the age of 40 in 1964.

In November 1966, he ran for Congress and won. In 1988, he was elected US president as the successor to Ronald Reagan. He served as head of the US Liaison Office in China between 1974 and 1975.

Meanwhile, tributes to the former US President have been pouring in from around the world as global leaders honored him for his role in helping to end the Cold War and reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation.

“Many of my memories are linked to him,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, with whom Mr Bush signed a strategic arms reduction treaty that scaled back the two countries’ nuclear arsenals.

“We happened to work together in years of great changes. It was a dramatic time demanding huge responsibility from everyone,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Mr Gorbachev as saying.

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