Rev. Graham’s Body Will Arrive In D.C. Wednesday To Lie In Honor In The Nation’s Capitol

WASHINGTON, DC — It’s a rare American honor. The late Reverend Billy Graham will lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. starting Wednesday.

Billy Graham’s body will arrive at the U.S. Capitol at 10:30 tomorrow morning. Shortly after Reverend Graham’s casket arrives, Washington lawmakers will pause to remember the man known as “America’s Pastor” during a bicameral ceremony.

Billy graham served as advisor to 12 consecutive U.S. presidents.

One day after his passing, at age 99, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan sent a letter to Graham’s son Franklin. They offered their condolences and asked permission for Reverend Graham’s remains to lie in honor, so that Americans may have an opportunity to pay their respects.

Lying in honor – for private citizens – or lying in state – for government officials – is a tradition that dates back to 1852. This marks the 32nd instance in American history.

Reverend Graham becomes only the fourth private citizen to be honored this way.

The last citizen to lie in honor was civil rights icon Rosa Parks, when she died in 2005.

Visitors to the Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday will see Graham’s simple pine and plywood casket, made at his request in 2006 by inmates at Angola Prison in Louisiana.

The casket has a wooden cross nailed to the top and it will rest on a pine board catafalque, or raised platform, that was made after the death of Abraham Lincoln. The platform will be draped with a black cloth that’s similar to the one used in 1865 when Lincoln lain in state.

Tomorrow, the Capitol Rotunda will open to the public from approximately 1pm to 8pm. The lying in honor period will end at 10am on Thursday.

Reverend Graham’s funeral service will be in Charlotte at noon on Friday.