Obama to pay tribute to Mandela in South Africa

An image of Nelson Mandela is displayed on a digital screen as workers on scaffolding construct a stage ahead of Mr Mandela's national memorial service at First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. President Barack
An image of Nelson Mandela is displayed on a digital screen as workers on scaffolding construct a stage ahead of Mr Mandela's national memorial service at First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. President Barack Obama will pay tribute this week to Mr Mandela, making the long trip from Washington to South Africa on Monday to attend a national memorial service for the anti-apartheid icon. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama will pay tribute this week to Nelson Mandela, making the long trip from Washington to South Africa on Monday to attend a national memorial service for the anti-apartheid icon.

Tuesday's memorial service will also serve as a rare reunion of nearly all of the living American presidents. George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will accompany Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Air Force One. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will travel separately to South Africa.

George H.W. Bush is the only living president who will not attend. His spokesman said the 89-year-old is no longer able to travel long distances.

The American leaders will join dozens of other dignitaries and tens of thousands of mourners at the memorial service at a Johannesburg stadium.