Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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:
- Sovereign's Bodyguard
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. 
In the United States, the lying-in-state procedure is done underneath the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The first leader to receive this honor was statesman Henry Clay in 1852. Since then the honor has been extended to many U.S. presidents, but is not limited to them.
No law, written rule, or regulation specifies who may lie in state; use of the Rotunda is controlled by concurrent action of the House and Senate. Any person who has rendered distinguished service to the nation may lie in state if the family so wishes and Congress approves. In the case of unknown soldiers, the president or the appropriate branch of the armed forces initiates the action.
The coffin or casket is usually placed on the black catafalque first constructed upon the death of Abraham Lincoln, who was presented in state in 1865. The casket is guarded at each of its four corners by servicemen each representing a branch from the United States armed forces. Unlike in the United Kingdom and Canada, where stand at each corner with heads bowed and weapons inverted and their backs are turned towards the casket, the guards face it and their weapons are held in their right hands, with their rifle butts touching the floor.
Notable non-executive figures who have received this honor include Thaddeus Stevens (1868), Charles Sumner (1874), The Unknown Soldier (1921), John J. Pershing (1948), Douglas MacArthur (1964), and J. Edgar Hoover (1972).
The most recent president to receive the honor of lying in state at the Rotunda has been Ronald Reagan, who was inaugurated for his second term in the rotunda in 1985 because of freezing cold temperatures the day the public ceremony took place and died in June 2004. Other presidents who have been granted this honor in the past generation have been John F. Kennedy (1963), Herbert Hoover (1964), Dwight Eisenhower (1969), and Lyndon B. Johnson (1973).
In Canada, lying in state takes place in the Hall of Honour in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Guards are from the Canadian Forces and the RCMP. When prime ministers lie in state, guards are also from Parliamentary security forces--Commons Police, as well as Senate Police. When governor generals, guards are also from the governor general's foot guards. Like in the United Kingdom, the guards stand at each corner with heads bowed and weapons inverted and their backs are turned towards the casket.
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