Lie In Honor

March 30, 2021
Lie In Honor

A Special Honor

A Capitol police officer will lie in honor in the same site he served to protect.

This unique tradition started with two others who died defending the seat of government.
“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”

The U.S. Capitol Police.

“There really aren’t enough kind words in any language to describe how sweet Brian was. He was truly a lovely, humble soul. We are missing him terribly.”

The official statement from the family of Officer Sicknick, who described him as "sweet natured through and through." They expressed his devotion to his dachshunds and his job, which they said he loved and "was very passionate about," never wanting to arrive late or call in sick.

Lie in State Vs. Lie In Honor

  • Both refer to a special honor bestowed by Congress: a memorial service where one’s casket sits in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • The honor in America dates back to 1852 when Henry Clay – former Sec. of State, congressman & senator – was first to “lie in state” at the Capitol.
  • Average citizens cannot lie in state; that honor is reserved for gov’t & military officials.
  • However, eminent private citizens may “lie in honor.”

Lie In Honor

  • To date, only four Americans have received the honor.
  • The first two citizens to receive this special distinction: two Capitol police officers killed during an attack by a gunman at the U.S. Capitol in 1998.
  • Notable: In 2005, civil rights activist Rosa Parks became the first (and only) woman to “lie in honor” in the U.S. Capitol. Rev. Billy Graham received the honor in 2018.

A Special Support

  • Catafalque (cat-e-falk): a frame that supports a coffin.
  • Pres. Lincoln’s catafalque used after his assassination has held most of the coffins that have lain in state.
  • The catafalque has had minor restorations since 1865 (retrofitted to hold larger coffins, drapery replaced), but it remains like the original for the most part.

Officer Sicknick's service began before he joined the Capitol Police. He served in the New Jersey National Guard and deployed twice, once overseas after 9/11. Reports suggest Officer Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. Approximately 140 officers were injured during the riot – details on what we now know our source page.


The Capitol Police union Chair Gus Papathanasiou: “We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection. Another officer has tragically taken his own life,” Papathanasiou said. “Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”


More on the history of the Lying in State: CLICK HERE

by Jenna Lee,