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Presidential Funerals: From Private Family Affairs To Major National Events

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President George W. Bush laid a wreath at George Washington’s tomb in Mount Vernon, Va., on the 275th anniversary of his birth, Feb. 19, 2007. Bush is accompanied by Gay Hart Gaines of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Washington set a tradition for early presidents with a modest funeral on his family property. Today’s presidential funerals are national events planned by a military task force.

Charles Dharapak /AP

George Washington set the tradition for the early presidents with a small, private burial at his estate. Today, the funerals are meticulously planned years in advance by a large military task force.

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