George HW Bush’s Final Flight: ‘Special Air Mission 41’
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This morning, the aircraft known primarily as ‘Air Force One‘ was sent out on a special mission to transport late former President George HW Bush’s casket between Houston to Washington, DC. The flight, for the special circumstances, will be called ‘Special Air Mission 41’ while carrying out its journey to honor the life of the 41st president.
‘Special Air Mission 41’ arrived at Ellington Airport (EFD) in Houston on Dec. 2 to begin its trip. The plane was sent off to DC with a ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base and greeted with an arrival ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Following this, the aircraft is set to fly to DC where Bush will be placed in the US Capitol rotunda to lie in state until Wednesday morning so the public can pay their respects. Wednesday evening, there will be a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral before Bush is to be returned to Houston on the final leg of the ‘Special Air Mission 41’ flight. Aboard the plane will be members of the Bush family including former president (and Bush’s son) George W. Bush as well as some of Bush’s closest staff members.
After arriving back in Texas, on Thursday afternoon, Bush will be laid to rest in College Station, Texas, at the George HW Bush Presidential Library with his late wife, Barbara and daughter, Robin.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), located in Houston, has also paid tribute to Bush by taking to social media. Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz, via the IAH Facebook page, stated: “George Bush Intercontinental Airport was named for the 41st President of the United States for this very reason, because he had a full appreciation for the various ways in which the field of aviation could enrich the cultural lives of individuals and maximize the economic potential of entire nations. During his inaugural address in 1989, President Bush said, ‘We meet on democracy’s front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends.’ Mister President, your neighbors and friends would like to take a moment to thank you for an amazing conversation.”
It’s also been reported that the statue of Bush, located in IAH’s Terminal C, has experienced a “very steady stream of people” including the likes of passengers, pilots and crew. The statue has also been adorned with flowers, flags, ribbons and more “in memoriam” of the former president. In addition to this, a TPG staff member aboard a flight departing from IAH on Monday also reported the captain had referred to the airport as “George Herbert Walker Bush Memorial Airport.”
Featured image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.