Billy Graham is lying in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda today, through the morning of Thursday, March 1. He is only the fourth private citizen to be given this honor. The evangelist known worldwide passed away at 99 and will be buried on Friday during a private funeral service. You can watch the livestream of the ceremony on Billy Graham’s website here, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern. The family will have a private ceremony, and then at 1 p.m. the Rotunda will open to the public for visitation. At the time of publication, a YouTube live stream video was not available. If one becomes available, we will add it to this story.
A flight carrying Graham’s body will land in Dulles International Airport and be escorted via motorcade to the Capitol this morning. The motorcade will travel from the Dulles Toll Road to I-66, then into D.C. across the Roosevelt Bridge, Fox reported. The hearse will arrive at the Capitol around 10:30 a.m. Eastern. Military guards will carry the casket up the East Front Steps of the Capitol, into the Rotunda.The family will have a private ceremony in the morning, before the public can pay their respects from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern today.
Graham’s casket is a simple pine plywood casket that was made by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. A wooden cross is nailed on top. The casket will be supported by a pine board catafalque, also known as a raised platform. This was constructed for Abraham Lincoln’s coffin. It will be draped with a black cloth similar to that used when Lincoln lay in state.
Lying in honor is reserved only for private citizens, who are given the honor of having their casket placed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for public viewing. Including Billy Graham, only four private citizens have been given this honor. There are no official rules that dictate who can lie in state vs who can lie in honor, except that customarily only government officials can lie in state, versus private citizens who can lie in honor. The casket is typically guarded by the U.S. Capitol Police. The decision to grant this honor is made by a concurrent resolution of the House and Senate, and can be granted to anyone who has given a distinguished service, with the family’s approval. The only four citizens who have been given this honor are Rosa Parks and U.S. Capitol Police Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson. (In contrast, lying in state is an honor offered automatically to Presidents and former Presidents, and selectively to other elected or government officials. Lying in state also takes place in the Rotunda, but instead of being guarded by Capitol Police, the casket is guarded by members of each branch of the Armed Forces.)
On Friday, Graham’s funeral will begin at noon Eastern and will also be livestreamed at the Billy Graham website. Watch Billy Graham talk about heaven, in his own words, in the video below: