As the funeral plans for Sen. John McCain take shape, Congressional leaders announced Sunday that Sen. John McCain will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
McCain, who served in the House and the Senate during his more than 30-year political career, will be afforded the honor that only a handful have received in the country’s history. His casket will be placed in the U.S. Capitol later this week so the public will have a chance to pay respects prior to his memorial service in the National Cathedral.
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, the decision to allow McCain to lie in state came "in coordination with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi."
"The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service," the statement read. "I appreciate my colleagues and the entire Senate and House family's assistance with this honor."
To lie in state is an honor reserved for “government officials and military officers” of which McCain was both.
What does it mean to lie in state? Here’s a look at who is eligible and who has been given that honor.
Who is eligible to lie in state or in honor?
According to the Architect of the Capitol, a congressional resolution or approval by congressional leadership is necessary for a person to lie in state or lie in honor at the Capitol.
What is the difference between lying in state and lying in honor
Government officials or military leaders lie in state. Private citizens lie in honor.
Where does the casket rest in the Capitol?
The casket is placed in the Capitol Rotunda. The rotunda is a circular room in the center of the building that sits directly beneath the Capitol dome, according to the Architect of the Capitol website.
It is 96 feet in diameter and rises 180 feet from the floor to the canopy. The website says the volume of the rotunda is around 1.3 million cubic feet.
For those lying in state, the casket rests on the catafalque (coffin support) that was constructed for the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln.
According to the Architect of the Capitol, "since 1865, most services have used that catafalque.”
Who has either lain in state or lain in honor in the Capitol?
Here is a list of those who have either lain in state or lain in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Lain in state
James Abram Garfield
John Alexander Logan
Pierre Charles L’Enfant
Unknown Soldier of World War I
Warren Gamaliel Harding
William Howard Taft
John Joseph Pershing
Robert Alphonso Taft
3 Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Herbert Clark Hoover
Dwight David Eisenhower
Everett McKinley Dirksen
J. Edgar Hoover
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Hubert Horatio Humphrey
Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam Era
Claude Denson Pepper
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Gerald R. Ford, Jr.
Daniel K. Inouye
Lain in honor
Jacob Joseph Chestnut
John Michael Gibson
What are the plans for McCain’s funeral?
McCain will lie in state in Arizona on Wednesday, what would have been his 82nd birthday. His body will be flown to Washington on Thursday and he will lie in state at the Capitol from Friday until early Saturday when his body will be moved to the National Cathedral for a memorial service. After the service, his body will be taken to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, for burial in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery.
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