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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)
*#Henry ClayJul 1, 1852Senator (W-KY), 1806-1807, 1810-1811, 1831-1842, 1849-1852
#Abraham LincolnApr 19-21, 1865President, 1861-1865
#Thaddeus StevensAug 13-14, 1868Representative (W-PA), 1859-1868
*#Charles SumnerMar 13, 1874Senator (R-MA), 1851-1874
*#Henry WilsonNov 25-26, 1875Vice President, 1873-1875 (Senator, 1855-1873)
#James A. GarfieldSep 21-23, 1881President, 1881
*#John A. LoganDec 30-31, 1886Senator (R-IL), 1871-1877, 1879-1886
#William McKinleySep 17, 1901President, 1897-1901
Pierre Charles L'Enfant (reinterment)Apr 28, 1909Planner of the city of Washington, D.C.
George DeweyJan 20, 1917Admiral of the Navy of the United States
Unknown Soldier of World War INov 9-11, 1921 
*#Warren G. HardingAug 8, 1923President, 1921-1923 (Senator (R-OH), 1915-1921)
#William Howard TaftMar 11, 1930Chief Justice of the United States, 1921-1930 (President, 1909-1913)
#John Joseph PershingJul 18-19, 1948General of the Armies of the United States
*Robert A. TaftAug 2-3, 1953Senator (R-OH), 1939-1953
Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean WarMay 28-30, 1958 
*John F. KennedyNov 24-25, 1963President 1961-1963 (Senator (D-MA), 1953-1960)
#Douglas MacArthurApr 8-9, 1964General of the Army of the United States
Herbert HooverOct 23-25, 1964President, 1929-1933
Dwight D. EisenhowerMar 30-31, 1969President, 1953-1961
*Everett McKinley DirksenSep 9-10, 1969Senator (R-IL), 1951-1969
J. Edgar HooverMay 3-4, 1972Director, FBI, 1924-1972
*Lyndon Baines JohnsonJan 24-25, 1973President, 1963-1969 (Senator (D-TX), 1949-1961; Vice President, 1961-1963)
*Hubert H. HumphreyJan 14-15, 1978Senator (D-MN) 1949-1964, 1971-1978 (Vice President, 1965-1969)
Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam ConflictMay 25-28, 1984 
*#Claude PepperJun 1-2, 1989Representative (D-FL) 1963-1989 (Senator (D-FL), 1936-1951)
Jacob J. Chestnut
John Gibson (1)
Jul 28, 1998Capitol Police Officer
Capitol Police Special Agent
Ronald Wilson ReaganJun 9-11, 2004President, 1981-1989
Rosa Parks (2)Oct 30-31, 2005Civil Rights Activist
Gerald R. FordDec 30, 2006 - Jan 2, 2007President, 1974-1977
*Daniel K. InouyeDec 20, 2012Senator (D-HI), 1963-2012 (President pro tempore, 2010-2012)
The Reverend Billy Graham (1)Feb 28-Mar 1, 2018Minister, evangelist and adviser to presidents.
*John McCainAug 31, 2018Senator (R-AZ), 1987-2018
George H. W. BushDec 3-5, 2018President, 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