Polish president's body returns home

(AP) - Tens of thousands of Poles softly sang thenational anthem and tossed flowers at the hearse carrying the bodyof President Lech Kaczynski to the presidential palace on Sundayafter it was returned from Russia, where he and dozens ofpolitical, military and religious leaders were killed in a planecrash.

The plane carrying Kaczynski's body arrived from the Smolenskairport, where he and 95 others had been heading Saturday to honor22,000 Polish officers slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940 inthe western Soviet Union.

The coffin bearing Kaczynski's remains were met first by hisdaughter Marta, whose mother Maria also perished in the crash. Sheknelt before it, her forehead resting on the coffin.

She was followed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the former primeminister, and the president's twin brother. He, too, knelt andpressed his head against the flag-draped coffin before risingslowly and crossing himself.

Standing sentinel were four Polish troopers bearing sabers. There was no sign of the twins' ailing mother Jadwiga, who hasbeen hospitalized. The president had canceled several foreign tripslately to be by her side.

The coffin was placed aboard a Mercedes-Benz hearse and slowlytraveled several miles to the palace, watched by thousands ofweeping Poles.

Earlier, the country held two minutes of silence in memorial forthose killed in the crash.

Church bells pealed at noon and emergency sirens shrieked fornearly a minute before fading. Hundreds bowed their heads, eyesclosed, in front of the presidential palace. Buses and trams haltedin the streets.

No date for a funeral has been set and the presidential palacehas not yet said if Kaczynski will lie in state.

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