Lying in state

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For the band, see Lying in States.
Philip IV of France lying in state
Mahatma Gandhi lying in state

Lying in state is the tradition in which the body of a dead official is placed in a state building, either outside or inside a coffin, to allow the public to pay their respects. It traditionally takes place in the principal government building of a country or city. While the practice differs among countries, a viewing in a location other than the principal government building may be referred to as lying in repose.[1]

South Africa[edit]

Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president to lie in state in South Africa.[citation needed] The event took place at the Union Buildings the same site where he was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on May 10, 1994. The body of Mandela was lying in State for three days starting on Wednesday the 11th of December 2013 and ending on Friday the 13th of December 2013. The body was viewed by thousands of South Africans before it was airlifted to Qunu in the Eastern Cape where Mandela was laid to rest on the 15th of December 2013.

Canada[edit]

In Canada, official lying in state is a part of a state funeral, an honor generally reserved for former Governors General and former Prime Ministers, and takes place in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, in the national capital, Ottawa. Ex-governors general lie in state in the Senate Chamber, while former prime ministers lie in the Hall of Honour. During the period of lying in state, the coffins are flanked at each corner by a Guard of Honour, made up of four members drawn from the Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as members of the Governor General's Foot Guards for former governors general, and guards from the parliamentary security forces for former prime ministers. Guards stand at each corner with heads bowed and weapons inverted (resting on Arms reversed) with their backs turned towards the casket.

Provinces may also mount state funerals, and have a lying in state for a distinguished former resident. For instance, Maurice Richard was given a state funeral by the province of Quebec when he died in 2000; his coffin lay in state at the Molson Centre.[2] This process was repeated for fellow Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau in December 2014.

For municipalities, civic funerals maybe offered to prominent current or former politicians who have died.

North Korea[edit]

In North Korea, the body of the late leader Kim Jong-il was displayed in a glass coffin surrounded with red flowers at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang prior to his funeral which began and ended at the palace. An honor guard armed with an AK-47 was present. Kim Jong-il's father Kim Il-Sung, the founding president, is on display elsewhere in the palace.[3]

Russia[edit]

In Russia, during the time of the Soviet Union (1917–1991), the state funerals of the most senior political and military leaders such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko all followed the same basic outline. They took place in Moscow, began with a public lying in state of the deceased in the House of the Unions and ended with an interment at the Red Square.

For the lying in state at the House of the Unions, the coffin would be placed on display in the Column Hall, which would be decorated by flowers, numerous red flags and other communist symbols. The mourners, which usually would be brought in by the thousands, shuffled up a marble staircase beneath chandeliers draped in black gauze. On the stage at the left side of the Column Hall a full orchestra in black tailcoats would play classical music. The deceased's embalmed body, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a tie, would be displayed in an open coffin on a catafalque banked with carnations, red roses and tulips, facing the long queue of mourners. A small guard of honour would be in attendance in the background. At the right side of the hall there would be placed seats for guests of honour, with the front row reserved for the dead leader's family.

On the day of the funeral, a military funeral parade would take place during which the coffin would be conveyed from the House of the Unions to the Red Square where burial would take place. Lenin and Stalin were placed inside the Lenin Mausoleum while Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko were interred in individual graves in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis along the Kremlin wall.

Singapore[edit]

At state funerals in Singapore, the vigil guard may be deployed during the public lying in state of the deceased person at Parliament House. The deployment of the vigil guard is the highest form of respect accorded by the nation to the deceased. Similar to British traditions, the vigil guard is composed of groups of five commissioned officers from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) who stand guard around the clock in shifts of 30 minutes. One of the five officers stands facing outward at each of the four corners of the casket, while the fifth and most senior one stands in front and faces inward. Their heads are bowed and their ceremonial swords are inverted.[4]

Vigil guards were stationed at the public lying in state of Goh Keng Swee in May 2010,[5] Lee Kuan Yew in March 2015 [6] as well as S R Nathan in August 2016. [7]

United Kingdom[edit]

In state and ceremonial funerals in the United Kingdom, the lying-in-state takes place in Westminster Hall. The coffin is placed on a catafalque and is guarded, around the clock, by detachments each of four men from the following units:

Each unit mans the guard for a total of six hours, with each detachment standing post for twenty minutes. The four men stand at each corner with heads bowed and weapons inverted and their backs are turned towards the coffin.

On two occasions, the guard has been mounted by four male members of the Royal Family. At the lying in state of King George V in 1936, the guard was mounted by his four sons King Edward VIII, the Duke of York, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent. For Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's lying-in-state in 2002, the guard was mounted by her four grandsons the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and Viscount Linley.[8]

United States[edit]

Thaddeus Stevens lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on August 13, 1868. A statue of Abraham Lincoln situated behind Steven's casket was credited to "Henry J. Ellicott".
John J. Pershing saluting the Unknown Soldier of World War I who lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on November 9, 1921.
Lyndon B. Johnson and members of Congress honor John F. Kennedy who lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on November 24, 1963.
Richard Nixon and members of Congress honor Lyndon B. Johnson who lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on January 24, 1973.
The U.S. Joint Service Color Guard and members of Congress honor Ronald Reagan who lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on June 10, 2004.
Dick Cheney and members of Congress honor Gerald Ford who lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on December 30, 2006.

For most federal officeholders, lying in state is the rare honor granted by the United States to a deceased official wherein his or her remains are placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., for public viewing. The casket is guarded by members of the armed forces. By regulation and custom, only Presidents, military commanders, and members of Congress are granted the honor of lying in state. Except for Presidents and former Presidents, the honor is not automatic. Not all those entitled to the honor accept it, however. The first leader to receive this honor was former Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay when he died in 1852. Since then, the honor has been extended to thirty-one people, including eleven Presidents.

The process of lying in state at the Capitol is as follows. The coffin or casket is usually placed on a catafalque, usually the Lincoln catafalque, so named as it was constructed upon the death of Abraham Lincoln, from when he lay in state following his assassination in 1865. The casket is guarded at each of its corners by servicemen from each of the branches of the armed forces for its duration at the Capitol. In contrast to the practice in the United Kingdom and other countries of the Commonwealth, guards at the Capitol face the casket, hold their rifles with their right hand, and keep the rifle butt resting on the floor. After the viewing and ceremony at the Capitol, the remains are taken to the burial location.

Those who have lain in state are as follows:[9][10]

The United States Congress has created a similar—though not identical—privilege for distinguished Americans who do not qualify for a lying in state designation. The process of lying in honor is very similar to that of lying in state with the exception that the honor guard in the Rotunda is provided by the Capitol Police or another suitable source.

Those who have lain in honor are as follows:

In 1998, Russell Eugene Weston Jr. stormed the Capitol and shot and killed Chestnut and Gibson. In response, Congress provided for their remains to lie in honor in the Rotunda. Chestnut was the first African-American to lie in honor. In 2005, upon the death of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, Congress permitted her remains to lie in honor at the Rotunda as well; Parks became the second African-American and the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

Supreme Court Justices lie in repose in the Great Hall of the United States Supreme Court Building. Justices who have been awarded this honor include:

Vatican City[edit]

Pope John Paul II's body lying in state.

It is customary for a deceased pope to lie in state in the chapel of the Apostolic Palace and then in St. Peter's Basilica between the holding of a Mass of Visitation and a Mass of Requiem.[citation needed] The funeral of Pope John Paul II was an example of this custom.

Coptic Patriarchate[edit]

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria has a tradition of mummifying the deceased pope and placing his body on his throne to enable the church followers to have a farewell look at him for a short period of time. This tradition is one of the ways ancient Egyptian rituals survived in the Egyptian church. [13]

Other notable funerals[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Rocket to get state funeral". CBC News. May 28, 2000. 
  3. ^ "Kim's body on show in North Korea amid mass mourning". AFP. The West Australian. Archived from the original on 1/2/2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.  Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
  4. ^ Cheong, Danson (4 April 2015). "'An honour to stand vigil for Mr Lee Kuan Yew'". The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Of state funerals and state-assisted funerals". Public Opinion. 
  6. ^ "Vigil guard, highest form of respect, accorded to Lee Kuan Yew during lying in state". Channel News Asia. 
  7. ^ "Vigil guards to be mounted for S R Nathan's Lying-in-State". Channel News Asia. 
  8. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-newsworld/qmum_vigil020408.ram Archived 30 July 2007 at WebCite
  9. ^ Those Who Have Lain In State or In Honor in the Capitol Rotunda, US Architect of the Capitol.
  10. ^ Memorial or Funeral Services in the Capitol Rotunda (PDF), U.S. Senate Historical Office from the Architect of the Capitol.
  11. ^ "Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Lies in Honor in Capitol Rotunda". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ "Lying in State | Architect of the Capitol | United States Capitol". Aoc.gov. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  13. ^ Boulos Ayad Ayad, Phd: Ancient Egyptian Civilization and the Coptic Church, Coptic Church Review, Volume 9, Number 4