HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 03:  A military honor guard removes the remains of President George H.W. Bush from a hearse before carrying them to Special Air Mission 41 for a flight to Washington D. C.

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 03: A military honor guard removes the remains of President George H.W. Bush from a hearse before carrying them to Special Air Mission 41 for a flight to Washington D. C.

This week, the late President George H.W. Bush will be honored with a state funeral — a customary ceremony for former heads of state.

His body will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda for public visitation Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service will follow on Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

You can find the full funeral schedule here.

The tradition of state funerals has been around since the country’s earliest days. How exactly do these ceremonies come together?

From CBS News:

While tradition and protocol greatly influence a funeral for a former head of state, the exact sequence of events is determined by family desires. Despite the immediate family’s personal loss, much of the funeral remains open to the public, which shares in the loss of a national leader. Foreign countries also mourn the loss of a former head of state and their participation generates its own protocol, says the United States Army Military District of Washington.

We’ll go behind the scenes of this rich tradition.

Show produced by Morgan Givens. Text by Kathryn Fink.

Guests

  • Matthew Costello Senior historian, White House Historical Association; @whhistoriancost

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