Celebrating the life of former President George H.W. Bush

Tributes from President Trump to Colin Powell pour in honoring Bush as the ultimate statesman.
4:05 | 12/02/18

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Transcript for Celebrating the life of former President George H.W. Bush
celebrations honoring former president George H.W. Bush and his contributions to the country. Memorial plans under way to pay tribute to the 41st president of the United States. President trump declaring December 5th a national day of mourning. Air force one will carry his casket to Washington, D.C., tomorrow, where he will lie in state at the capitol. President trump will attend his funeral at the national cathedral on Wednesday. And a memorial of flowers and tributes outside of his home in Houston. The former president remembered for his sense of decency, and kindness to others. Amy robach is in Houston to lead us off. Reporter: Tonight, air force one in Houston. The plane now ready to bring president bush on his final journey to the nation's capital. Tributes pouring in. His close friend and former secretary of state Jim baker revealing the details of some of his final moments. He opened his eyes. He looked at me, he says, hey, bake. He said, where are we going? So, he kept his spirit, and he kept his sense of humor right to the very end. But his passing, George, was very gentle and very peaceful. Reporter: His final words, an exchange with his son. Bush 43, on a speakerphone, telling his father he loved him. His father responding, "I love you, too." On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. Reporter: George W. Bush recounting the emotional moment after 9/11 when his father provided critical support. I felt his hand and it was my dad. It was very comforting, and it was a beautiful gesture. And it was captured on film, so I'm able to reminisce about that moment. And the emotions of it are still with me. Reporter: One of president bush's lasting legacies, the first Iraq war. Kuwait is liberated. Iraq's army is defeated. Our military objectives are met. Reporter: Colin Powell served as chairman of the joint chiefs. When it came to a celebratory parade, the president refusing to go. Not wanting to overshadow those who sacrificed. President bush said I won't be there. Why not? It's a parade for the troops, the general, the chairman, the joint chiefs of staff, secretary Cheney. I will not attend. This is for them, not for me. Reporter: And bush, known for forging bonds with his biggest rivals, including president Clinton, whose victory ensured only one term in office. He famously left this letter behind. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success is our country's success. I'm rooting hard for you. I thought it was vintage George Bush. I thought he meant it, but I also thought he was trying to be a citizen in the highest sense of the word. Reporter: President trump announcing three days of celebrations culminating with a state funeral. He'll be missed. He'll be greatly missed. A terrific person and a terrific man. Reporter: And tonight, his family releasing home videos and audio of the late president reading a letter to his children. Remember the old song, "I'll be there ready when you are?" Well, I'll be there ready when you are, for there's so much excitement ahead. So many grandkids to watch grow. A servant to both his country and his family. And Amy, they've had to make adjustments to air force one to fly the casket to Washington? Reporter: That's right. In fact, air force one landed here in Houston earlier today. They had some rehearsals in place today to prepare for that final trip to Washington. But they had to remove several rows of seats in the front to make room for president bush. Tom? Amy, thank you. And ABC news will have complete coverage of memorials and tributes for former president George H.W. Bush. The funeral and military departures tomorrow morning, to his arrival at the U.S. Capitol, and the funeral service at the nation's capital. David Muir will be anchoring tomorrow. We move on to breaking news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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