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Harry Reid becomes the first Latter-day Saint to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda

The late Senate Majority Leader, who died Dec. 28, is the 33rd person in history given the honor, including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

President Joe Biden leaves after paying respects at the casket of former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as he lies in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Washington. Also pictured is Reid’s hat, left at the casket by his wife, Landra Gould.
Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Late U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is the 34th American and first Latter-day Saint to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where family, friends and congressional colleagues honored him on Wednesday.

What happened: His casket rested Wednesday on the catafalque used for Abraham Lincoln, The Associated Press reported.

  • During Wednesday’s ceremony, Reid’s wife Landra held a black hat that her husband often wore in his final years as she sat with their five adult children. Afterward, she set the hat beneath her husband’s casket before placing a hand out in a kiss goodbye, the AP reported.
Landra Gould, widow of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pays her respects at his casket during a memorial service in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol as Reid lies in state, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Washington.
Tom Williams, Associated Press
  • The previous seven people to lie in state under the Capitol Rotunda were Bob Dole, John R. Lewis, George H.W. Bush, John McCain, Daniel K. Inouye, Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan, according to the U.S. House of Representatives website.
  • Reid is the 15th senator to lie in state.
  • Reid died at his home in Henderson, Nevada on Dec. 28 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Reid’s accomplishments:

  • Famously born in tiny Searchlight, Nevada, to a father who was a miner and a mother who did laundry at a brothel, Reid graduated from Southern Utah University and Utah State University before serving as a Capitol Police officer while a student at George Washington Law School.
  • Reid was Nevada’s lieutenant governor and the chairman of Nevada Gaming Commission before he served in the U.S. House Representative in 1983-87.
  • Reid served in Congress longer than anyone in Nevada history, first in the U.S. House from 1983-87 and then the Senate from 1987-2017.
  • He was the Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats from 2007-2015 and Senate Minority Leader from 2015-17.

Reid’s honors:

  • Last month, Las Vegas renamed McCarran International Airport as Harry Reid International Airport.
  • President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama honored Reid by attending and speaking at his funeral service on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, pays respects at the flag-draped casket of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol as he lies in state, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Washington.
Tom Williams, Associated Press
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also honored his friend in a tweet after Reid’s death: “I will miss Harry Reid, and will always count my friendship with him and his family as a profound blessing.” The two men had known each other since Lee was a boy and Reid served as the Lee family’s home teachers for a time when they were in the same congregation as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reid joined the church in college.

Devout Latter-day Saint: Reid was a devout Latter-day Saint (widely known as Mormon) with a deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ, said President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke at Reid’s funeral and called Reid his dear friend.

  • “The depth of the real Harry Reid that I knew intimately is a Harry Reid who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and who absolutely is true blue to the Restoration of the gospel and the reality of the life and mission of Joseph Smith the Prophet,” President Ballard said.

Individuals who have lain in state or honor: Here is the full list of those who have lain in state at the Capitol Rotunda, including Unknown Soldiers:

Harry Reid, 2022.

Bob Dole, 2021.

John R. Lewis, 2020.

George H.W. Bush, 2018.

John McCain, 2018.

Daniel K. Inouye, 2012.

Gerald R. Ford, 2006.

Ronald Reagan, 2004.

Claude Denson Pepper, 1989.

Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam Conflict, 1984.

Hubert H. Humphrey, 1978.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1973.

J. Edgar Hoover, 1972.

Everett McKinley Dirksen, 1969.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1969.

Herbert Clark Hoover, 1964.

Douglas MacArthur, 1964.

John F. Kennedy, 1963.

Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War, 1958.

Robert A. Taft, 1953.

John Joseph Pershing, 1948.

William Howard Taft, 1930.

Warren G. Harding, 1923.

Unknown Soldier of World War I, 1921.

George Dewey, 1917.

Charles L’Enfant, 1909.

William McKinley, Jr., 1901.

John A. Logan, 1886.

James Abram Garfield, 1881.

Henry Wilson, 1875.

Thaddeus Stevens, 1868.

Abraham Lincoln, 1865.

Henry Clay, 1852.

  • Others have lain in state in the National Statuary Hall (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elijah Cummings).
  • Six people have lain in honor in the Capital Rotunda, including Rosa Parks and two of the Capitol Police officers who died in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.