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Memorial and Funeral Services in the Capitol Rotunda


In the absence of law or written rule, when the Congress is in session, use of the Rotunda is controlled by Senate-House concurrent resolution. Since 1865, most services have used the catafalque constructed for the coffin of Abraham Lincoln. In the case of the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War, an additional catafalque was built with the coffin of each at some point resting on the Lincoln catafalque. (The Lincoln catafalque was not used for the two Capitol Police officers in 1998.)

The Lincoln catafalque, which is a bier constructed of pine boards covered with fabric, was also used in 1873 in the Senate Chamber for the services of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase and in 1875 in the House Chamber for Congressman Samuel Hooper. It was used in 1993 for Thurgood Marshall and in 1995 for Warren Burger, both at the Supreme Court; in 1996 it was used for Ron Brown, at the Commerce Department.

Of the 35 people who have lain in the Capitol Rotunda, 13 have served as a senator at some point in their career (indicated by the asterisk). (Since two of the services honored two individuals, there have been a total of 33 services.)

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(*Senator  #Open casket)

HonoreeDateOffice at time of death (or for which best known)
ClayHenry Clay (KY) *# 1852_0701Jul 1, 1852 Senator (W-KY), 1806–1807, 1810–1811, 1831–1842, 1849–1852
Abraham Lincoln# 1865_0419Apr 19–21, 1865 President, 1861–1865
Thaddeus Stevens# 1868_0813Aug 13–14, 1868 Representative (W-PA), 1859–1868
SumnerCharles Sumner (MA) *# 1874_0313Mar 13, 1874 Senator (R-MA), 1851–1874
WilsonHenry Wilson (MA) *# 1875_1125Nov 25–26, 1875 Vice President, 1873–1875 (Senator, 1855–1873)
James A. Garfield# 1881_0921Sep 21–23, 1881 President, 1881
LoganJohn A. Logan (IL) *# 1886_1230Dec 30–31, 1886 Senator (R-IL), 1871–1877, 1879–1886
William McKinley# 1901_0917Sep 17, 1901 President, 1897–1901
Pierre Charles L'Enfant (reinterment) 1909_0428Apr 28, 1909 Planner of the city of Washington, D.C.
George Dewey 1917_0120Jan 20, 1917 Admiral of the Navy of the United States
Unknown Soldier of World War I 1921_1109Nov 9–11, 1921  
HardingWarren G. Harding (OH) *# 1923_0808Aug 8, 1923 President, 1921–1923 (Senator (R-OH), 1915–1921)
William Howard Taft# 1930_0311Mar 11, 1930 Chief Justice of the United States, 1921–1930 (President, 1909–1913)
John Joseph Pershing# 1948_0718Jul 18–19, 1948 General of the Armies of the United States
TaftRobert A. Taft (OH) * 1953_0802Aug 2–3, 1953 Senator (R-OH), 1939–1953
Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War 1958_0528May 28–30, 1958  
KennedyJohn F. Kennedy (MA) * 1963_1124Nov 24–25, 1963 President 1961–1963 (Senator (D-MA), 1953–1960)
Douglas MacArthur# 1964_0408Apr 8–9, 1964 General of the Army of the United States
Herbert Hoover 1964_1123Oct 23–25, 1964 President, 1929–1933
Dwight D. Eisenhower 1969_0330Mar 30–31, 1969 President, 1953–1961
DirksenEverett M. Dirksen (IL) * 1969_0909Sep 9–10, 1969 Senator (R-IL), 1951–1969
J. Edgar Hoover 1972_0503May 3–4, 1972 Director, FBI, 1924–1972
JohnsonLyndon B. Johnson (TX) * 1973_0124Jan 24–25, 1973 President, 1963–1969 (Senator (D-TX), 1949–1961; Vice President, 1961–1963)
HumphreyHubert H. Humphrey, Jr. (MN) * 1978_0114Jan 14-15, 1978 Senator (D-MN) 1949–1964, 1971–1978 (Vice President, 1965–1969)
Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam Conflict 1984_0525May 25–28, 1984
PepperClaude D. Pepper (FL) *# 1989_0601Jun 1–2, 1989 Representative (D-FL) 1963–1989 (Senator (D-FL), 1936–1951)
Jacob J. Chestnut
John Gibson 1
1998_0728Jul 28, 1998 Capitol Police Officer
Capitol Police Special Agent
Ronald Wilson Reagan 2004_0609Jun 9–11, 2004 President, 1981–1989
Rosa Parks 2 2005_1030Oct 30–31, 2005 Civil Rights Activist
Gerald R. Ford 2006_1230Dec 30, 2006–Jan 2, 2007 President, 1974–1977
InouyeDaniel K. Inouye (HI) * 2012_1220Dec 20, 2012 Senator (D-HI), 1963–2012 (President pro tempore, 2010–2012)
The Reverend Billy Graham 1 2018_0228Feb 28–Mar 1, 2018 Minister, evangelist and adviser to presidents.
McCainJohn S. McCain III (AZ) * 2018_0831Aug 31, 2018 Senator (R-AZ), 1987–2018
George H. W. Bush 2018_1203Dec 3–5, 2018 President, 1989–1993 (Vice President, 1981–1989)

1. Lay in honor, rather than lay in state.

2. Lay in honor, the first woman to be so honored in the U.S. Capitol

Source: Architect of the Capitol

Senate Historical Office

2018