A similar outpouring is anticipated in Washington this week during the state funeral for Bush, who died late Friday at his home in Houston.
"This will be about the celebration of the noble public service that George H.W. Bush gave".
House Speaker Paul Ryan praised George H.W. Bush as a "great patriot", and the first president he had been able to cast a ballot for as a young man.
Bush's body is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda after being flown by a plane which often serves as Air Force One to a military base outside the capital from a cross-country trip earlier Monday from Houston, state of Texas.
President George H.W. Bush was remembered Monday as much for his decency as his service to the nation at the start of a three-day period of mourning that will conclude with the 41st president's funeral on Wednesday.
Rev. Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain, praised Bush's commitment to service, from Navy pilot to congressman, United Nations ambassador, envoy to China and then Central Intelligence Agency director before being elected vice president and then president, from 1989 to 1993.More news: Warriors star Curry discusses his return from injury
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to attend.
At the rotunda, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said there was a kindness about Bush that "was evident to everyone who ever met him". On Wednesday, family and friends will gather at the National Cathedral in Washington for an 11 a.m ET memorial service.
Following the funeral, Bush's casket will be returned to Texas and he will lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, where his wife, Barbara Bush's, funeral was held in April.
During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Trump mocked former primary rival Jeb Bush as "low energy" and has also been fiercely critical of former President George W. Bush, even once describing him as the "worst" president in USA history.
Bush was elected USA president in 1988 as the successor to Ronald Reagan.