Five-thirty this morning in Washington, D.C., found one Monitor reader in the Rotunda of the Capitol, paying his respects to a man he knew and respected.
For the world, today was the day for the state funeral of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. For Torkel Patterson, who worked under Mr. Bush on the National Security Council and knew him as a man of “decency and genuine caring for all,” today was something more intimate.
As editor, I’ve come to know Torkel through email conversations. But his note this morning particularly touched me. He said he’d gone to the Capitol at 11 p.m. the night before but the line was three hours long. Early this morning, “there was no wait. It was clear and cold and still.” And in that stillness, he was struck by a singular feeling: gratitude. It came in waves, he wrote. Gratitude for the framers of the Constitution, gratitude that “these great institutions of government still stand in the strength of their granite, literally and figuratively.” Gratitude for the honor guard present.
“Respect for the institutions of government,” he wrote, “enshrined in these great buildings and in the Constitution, overwhelmed me.” For a president whose life was defined by service to the country he loved, it was such a fitting tribute – a “last salute, and my silent prayer for fair winds and following seas.”
Now to our five stories for today. We offer a different perspective on China’s ambitions, a look at a major impediment to economic growth in the US, and a glimpse of how tolerance grows.