Lying in State

August 31, 2018
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“Lying In State”

Sen. John McCain will be the 31st American honored by having his remains “lay in state” at the U.S. Capitol.

How & Why We Do It

Pres. Lincoln’s “Support”

  • Catafalque: a frame that supports a coffin (cat-e-falk).
  • Pres. Lincoln’s catafalque from 1865 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 for the most part, it remains like the original.

What It Means &
Why It Matters ================================

  • Royal tradition adopted in the U.S. Started with Sec. of State Henry Clay in 1852. Today, the decision to bestow the honor is made by Congress.
  • 11 U.S Presidents have lain in state: Ford, Reagan, Johnson, Eisenhower, Hoover, Kennedy, Taft, Harding, McKinley, Garfield, & Lincoln.

“In State” vs. “In Honor”

Average citizens cannot “lay in state” as that honor is reserved for_gov’t & military officials.

However, eminent private citizens may “lay in honor.”

To date, only four have received the honor, including Rev. Billy Graham & two police officers killed during an attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In 2005, civil rights activist Rosa Parks became the first (and only) woman to "lay in honor" in the U.S. Capitol.

by Jenna Lee,