Sen. John McCain to lie in state. Here’s what that means
Sen. John McCain, whose more than three-decade career in the Senate irreversibly impacted the tenor of Washington, will lie in state in the US Capitol this week, an honor given to few statesmen.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a longtime ally of McCain, said that the decision 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.”
McCain will lie in state in the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday, the day McCain would have turned 82 years old, according to the state’s governor, Doug Ducey. There will be a service for McCain in Arizona this week, a Republican close to the McCain family told CNN.
McCain, who served in Congress and the military as a Navy pilot and is remembered as a war hero after surviving more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, will also have memorial services at the National Cathedral and in Annapolis, Maryland, where he will be laid to rest, the source said.
Lying in state, according to the Architect of the Capitol, is an honor reserved for “government officials and military officers” and involves laying the casket of the deceased in the Rotunda of the US Capitol, where the public can come and offer final respects.
“These occasions are either authorized by a congressional resolution or approved by the congressional leadership, when permission is granted by survivors,” the Architect of the Capitol instructs on its website.
Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, of Hawaii, was the last lawmaker who received the distinction, in 2012. Prominent private citizens can also be laid in the Rotunda, but they are lain in honor, not in state, as was the case with minister Billy Graham earlier this year.
Others who have lain in state include former Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover.
Rosa Parks, one of the most well-recognized figures of the civil rights movement, is the only woman to have lain in either honor or state.
According to the Architect of the Capitol, “since 1865, most services have used the catafalque,” or support for the coffin, that was “constructed for the coffin of Abraham Lincoln.”