U.S. stock markets closed on Wednesday, Dec. 5 to observe the national day of mourning for the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush. The President passed away last week at the age of 94. A state funeral is currently underway at Washington National Cathedral.
Major U.S. markets shut down, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Kristen Kaus, NYSE spokesperson said, “The exchange will observe a minute of silence to honor President Bush on Monday. As per our tradition, we will close the markets in observation of the Day of Mourning.”
The NYSE last closed during normal hours of trading outside of an official public holiday on Oct. 29 and 30, 2012 when New York City was struck by Hurricane Sandy. The exchange closed for the full day for the funerals of presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in 1994 and 2004, respectively. The last time the country held a presidential funeral was eleven years ago for Gerald Ford.
The Nasdaq, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 were at standstill and U.S. flags flew at half-mast on Wednesday. Futures and options trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will also close, though metals and energy futures remained open.
President Donald Trump also ordered the government to close in order to honor President Bush. The United States Postal Service (USPS) provided limited package delivery, but regular mail was suspended and most post office locations closed for the day.
USPS posted a statement on its official website saying, “Out of respect for the 41st President of the United States and to honor his vast contributions to our country during his lifetime, and consistent with the Presidential Proclamation, the United States Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity on Dec. 5. We will provide limited package delivery service on that day to ensure that our network remains fluid.”
The death of President George H.W. Bush was announced on Friday by his son George W. Bush, who served as the 43rd president of the United States. Bush praised his father as “a man of the highest character.”
Other leaders, including President Trump, have also hailed the former president for his great contributions to the U.S. and the world at large. “Looking forward to being with the Bush family,” Trump tweeted ahead of the funeral service on Wednesday. “This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!”
Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker said, “Here lies a great man, a gentle soul…His legacy is grace perfected.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and Britain’s Prince Charles are among those attending the funeral to honor the 41st U.S. president.
IMAGE CREDIT – Jonathan Ernst / AP