Weird History

Every Person To Lay In State In The US Capitol  

Melissa Sartore
31 items

Lying in state and lying in honor at the US Capitol are distinctions reserved for individuals that have given great service to the country. In the United States, when an individual is lain in state, their remains are placed in the rotunda of the US Capitol for a set period of time for public viewing. Only 31 individuals have lain in state since 1852, including politicians, statesmen, military veterans, and 11 former US presidents. Determining who gets to lay in state requires congressional approval or agreement, which is why the practice is so rare. 

People who have lain in state are considered to be representative of the best qualities of their country. Veterans, like John McCain, often receive the distinction. Unfortunately, remains are sometimes unidentifiable. In 1921, an unknown soldier from World War I laid in state for three days. Two unknown soldiers from the Korean War and World War II received the honor in 1958. Presidents who have lain in state include Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, but many of the founding fathers died before the practice was commonplace.

If you're wondering who has lain in state, you'll find a reverse chronological list of those who received the honor below. This list includes only individuals who have lain in state and not those who have lain in honor, a similar distinction reserved for non-government officials who served their country. Four individuals, including Billy Graham and Rosa Parks, were lain in honor in the Capitol after their deaths, but are not included below. 

George H. W. Bush is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Every Person To Lay In State In The US Capitol
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Date: December 3 - 5, 2018

George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 - November 30, 2018) was an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Prior to assuming the presidency, Bush served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. As a member of the Republican Party, he had previously been a U.S. Representative, Ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence. During his career in public service, he was known simply as George Bush; after his eldest son George W. Bush became President of the United States in 2001, he was referred to as "George H. W. Bush", "Bush 41", or "George Bush Sr". ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 94 (1924-2018)

Birthplace: Eastern United States, Milton, New England, Norfolk County, United States of America, + more

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John McCain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Every Person To Lay In State In The US Capitol
Photo:  Kris Connor/Getty Images

Date: August 31, 2018

John Sidney McCain III was an American politician and naval officer who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his passing. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama. McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and followed his father and grandfather—both four-star admirals—into the United States Navy. He became a naval aviator and flew ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 81 (1936 - 2018)

Birthplace: Coco Solo, Panama

Died: August 25, 2018

Cause Of Death: Brain cancer

Place Of Death: Cornville, Arizona

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Daniel Inouye is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Every Person To Lay In State In The US Capitol
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Date: December 20, 2012

Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye was a Medal of Honor recipient, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death in 2012, making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S. history. Inouye was the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Inouye fought in World War II as part of the famous 442nd Infantry Regiment. He lost his right arm to a grenade wound and received several military decorations. Returning to Hawaii, he earned a law degree and was elected to Hawaii's territorial House of Representatives in 1953, and ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 88 (1924-2012)

Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii

Died: December 17, 2012

Cause Of Death: Respitory complications

Place Of Death: Bethesda, Maryland

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Gerald Ford is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Every Person To Lay In State In The US Capitol
Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Dates: December 30, 2006-January 2, 2007

Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and, prior to this, was the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974 under President Richard Nixon. He was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, after Spiro Agnew resigned. When he became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the first and to date only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected by the Electoral College. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 93 (1913-2006)

Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska

Died: December 26, 2006

Cause Of Death: Cardiovascular disease

Place Of Death: Rancho Mirage, California

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