Former President George W. Bush touches the casket of his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after delivering a eulogy during the elder Bush's state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON (Dec. 05, 2017) Former President George W. Bush touches the casket of his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after delivering a eulogy during the elder Bush's state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2018. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Nov. 30, 2018, in Houston, Texas at the age of 94. Bush flew 58 combat missions as a Navy pilot during World War II, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and shared the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL 30). Bush lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda before a state funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He will be laid to rest next to former first lady Barbara Bush in College Station, Texas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Andrew Kendrick) File# 181205-D-LP265-1246
Carved from Indiana limestone, the cathedral's construction began in 1907 and took 83 years to complete in 1990. The structure comprises a 30-story-tall central tower, nine-bay nave, 215 stained glass windows, 112 gargoyles, including one of Darth Vader, an intricately carved wooden choir area, numerous chapels, and a crypt where President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller are buried. The cathedral's master plan was designed by George Frederick Bodley, a highly regarded British Gothic Revival architect of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, and was influenced by Canterbury. Construction started with a ceremonial address by President Theodore Roosevelt and the laying of the cornerstone. Planners hoped it would play a role similar to Westminster Abbey in the United Kingdom though intended as defined it as non-sectarian and nondenominational. The cathedral's design shows a mix of Gothic architectural styles of the Middle Ages. The cathedral was built with several intentional "flaws" in keeping with an apocryphal medieval custom that sought to illustrate that only God can be perfect. In 2016 two Confederate battle flag images were removed from stained glass windows commemorating the lives of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson installed in 1953. In 2017 stained glass windows honoring Lee and Jackson we removed completely.