What is a national day of mourning?
President Trump has declared one for Wednesday to mark the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. Who is eligible for the honor, and what does it entail?
President Trump has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning to commemorate former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94. It will coincide with the state funeral for the 41st president, which will be held at the Washington National Cathedral beginning at 11am.
It's officially a national holiday: Flags will fly at half-staff, government offices will shutter, and there will be no trading on the Dow Jones or NASDAQ. The Post Office will be closed, and the Supreme Court has postponed arguments for one day.
In the U.S., a national day of mourning has historically been reserved to mark the death of former commanders-in chief.
The last national day of mourning was declared by President George W. Bush to mark the passing of former President Gerald Ford at age 93. On that day of mourning, Jan. 2, 2007, flags were lowered to half-staff and the financial markets were closed.
Flags flew at half-staff for 30 days. Trump has ordered the same tribute for the first President Bush.
George H.W. Bush served one term from 1989 to 1993, when he was succeeded by President Bill Clinton. But the elder Bush had extensive history in the upper echelons of government: He was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Nixon and U.S. ambassador to China, then director of the CIA, under Ford, then served eight years as Ronald Reagan's vice president. He died in Houston on Friday night after years of declining health, about eight months after former first lady Barbara Bush died at age 92.
Former President George W. Bush released a statement about his father on Friday night. "George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for," he said. "The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are expected to attend the senior Bush's funeral on Wednesday. George W. Bush will eulogize his father. Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are also expected to attend, along with all former first ladies, except for Rosalynn Carter, CNN reported on Monday.