Sunday, December 31, 2006

Which Presidents Have Lain In State?

As I watched the President Ford State Funeral last night, I kept hearing commentators mention that Ford was the eleventh American President to lay in state.

Who were the other ten?

They are:

Abraham Lincoln - April 19, 20, and 21, 1865
James Abram Garfield - September 21, 22, and 23, 1881
William McKinley, Jr. - September 17, 1901
Warren Gamaliel Harding - August 8, 1923
William Howard Taft - March 11, 1930
John Fitzgerald Kennedy - November 24 and 25, 1963
Herbert Clark Hoover - October 23, 24, and 25, 1964
Dwight David Eisenhower - March 30 and 31, 1969
Lyndon Baines Johnson - January 24 and 25, 1973
Ronald Wilson Reagan - June 9, 10, and 11, 2004

Who decides if a president will lay in state? One site notes, "Law enacted in 1923 after the death of President Harding provides that every president is entitled to a state funeral and to have his body lie in state. However, the law also provides that the decision as to whether this entitlement will be accepted is left to the family of the late president with input from congressional leaders. President Nixon's family (like those of Presidents Wilson, Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Truman) chose not to accept the honor. "

1 comment:

A.M. Whittaker said...

I was one of the first ten people admitted into the Capitol Rotunda for the public viewing of President Ford Laying in State.

After seven and a half hours, the people in line with me became fast friends. We all had this in common: a deep respect for the President and a sense of history. As we were the very first in line and had waited far longer than anyone, we all were interviewed by several news agencies.

The observations shared by my,'linemates' - all ages and backgrounds attested to his character. Attributes such as dignity, honor, integrity, decency, quiet strength, were overheard many times.

Although I was the only one in our particular group to have voted for him, nevertheless, there was a great deal of respect for the challenges he faced and the role he played to 'calm a nation' and his leadership abilities.

I'm glad to have spent the time to pay my respects and honor one who gave so much service to our country.

A.M. Whittaker