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'A gentle soul': The touching tributes to President George H.W. Bush

Following the announcement Friday night of George H.W. Bush's death at the age of 94, the nation has began to honor the life and legacy of the 41st president.

On Sunday, Special Air Mission 41 began with the arrival of Air Force One in Houston. It continued on Monday, when former President George H.W. Bush was flown from Ellington Field in Houston to Washington D.C., where he will lie in state until a funeral at the National Cathedral on Wednesday.

Follow the live blog from KHOU for the latest updates. The full schedule for the week is below.

We'll be sharing some of the powerful and touching moments from throughout the week here.

VP Pence: 'Thank you for sharing this special man'

Vice President Mike Pence was among the dignitaries who spoke inside the Capitol Rotunda, as Bush lay in state. He thanked the Bush family "for sharing this special man," saying he left the country "more peaceful, prosperous and secure."

McConnell: Bush was 'a steady hand'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking in the Capitol Rotunda as Bush lay in state, described Bush as "a steady hand," in the way he navigated combat missions as a young pilot in the Navy and in the way he led the country as President.

House Majority Leader Paul Ryan also spoke in the Rotunda: "His character was second to none...a gentle soul, a firm resolve. He showed us that how we live is as important as what we achieve."

An emotional arrival at the U.S. Capitol

The procession escorting Bush's body from Joint Base Andrews, outside of Washington D.C., arrived at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state, just at sunset. The ceremony was emotional, most visibly on the faces of Bush's family, including George W. Bush, who watched as military members honored his father with a 21-gun salute. George H.W. Bush's flag-draped casket was then taken up the Capitol steps, past his family, and into the Capitol Rotunda, where he will lie in state until Wednesday.

George H.W. Bush in two words: 'Kind and graceful'

George H.W. Bush was beloved at Texas A&M, where his presidential library is located. The tributes were also pouring in at SMU in Dallas, the site of his son George W. Bush's library. WFAA's Hannah Davis spent part of the day Monday asking library visitors there how they would describe the elder Bush in one word.

And it was actually two words that jumped out the most: Kind and graceful.

21-gun salute in D.C.

The plane carrying Bush's body landed at Joint Base Andrews, near Washington D.C., about 3:15 p.m. local time. Bush will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. As they did before the flight took off in Houston, a band played "Hail to the Chief," and cannons fired a 21-gun salute.

Watch the full tribute:

A sendoff for 'Special Air Mission 41'

Bush's body will be flown on the Air Force One plane from Houston to D.C., and then back to Houston after the funeral Wednesday. The actual flight itself is called "Special Air Mission 41," the number 41 standing for Bush being the 41st U.S. president.

Special Air Mission 41 left Houston's Ellington Field at 11:10 a.m. Monday. Before taking off, several hundred mourners, including George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, gathered on the tarmac. A band played the presidential anthem, "Hail to the Chief," and cannons fired. Then George W. Bush and other family members boarded the plane for D.C.

Watch the tribute:

Credit: Eric Gay / AP
Members of the military carry the casket to Special Air Mission 41 at Ellington Field during a departure ceremony for a state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Sully's tribute

Among the crowd honoring Bush at Ellington Field in Houston on Monday morning was his service dog, Sully.

Sully was also with Bush's family as his casket was escorted from the Lewis & Sons funeral home to the procession earlier Monday. And we saw Sully in a touching moment on Sunday, when Bush spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted a photo of the service dog, lying by Bush's flag-draped casket.

"Mission Complete," McGrath tweeted.

A fighter pilot's socks

Bush will be buried wearing a favorite staple of his wardrobe: Customized socks. McGrath posted a picture on Twitter on Monday morning of the socks Bush will be wearing this week. They're stitched with fighter jets as a "tribute to his lifetime of service, starting as an 18-year-old naval aviate in war."

Bush, the youngest fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II, flew torpedo bombers off the USS San Jacinto in the Pacific and was shot down in 1944 over Chi Chi Jima Island. But he survived and was discharged in September 1945 after logging more than 1,200 hours of flight time and 58 combat missions.As for his love of socks, Bush, who once called himself a "self-proclaimed sock man," wore a pair of book-themed socks this year to the funeral for his wife, Barbara Bush, who promoted literacy during their time in the White House.


MONDAY: – Special Air Mission 41: Bush's final flight on Air Force One– Bush arrives at the US Capitol, where he'll lie in stateWEDNESDAY:– State funeral at the National Cathedral– Bush's body flown back to TexasTHURSDAY: – Second funeral at St, Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston

– Arrival and Interment George Bush Presidential Library & Museum