Harry Reid to lie in state at Capitol, Congress to honor late senator

January 12, 2022
Lana Reid, daughter of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaks during a memorial service for her father.
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WASHINGTON – The late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday.

Reid, who served Nevada in the upper chamber for three decades, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2018. He died Dec. 28 at age 82.

Reid was the longest-serving senator in Nevada’s history and presided over the upper chamber as majority leader from 2007 to 2015. He gained a reputation for soft-spoken ruthlessness as he clawed his way from Nevada’s lieutenant governor’s office to the pinnacle of the U.S. Senate. 

The tradition of using the Capitol Rotunda to pay tribute to distinguished Americans began in 1852. Lying in state is an honor that has been bestowed on only 35 people in 169 years, according to the Office of the Historian.

‘A giant American’: Biden, Obama pay tribute to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

There will be a ceremonial arrival beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET, followed by a congressional tribute at 11 a.m. featuring speeches by congressional leaders. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony is only open to invited guests.

A viewing period will occur 12:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda until a ceremonial departure at 5:00 p.m.  

More:Former US Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, former Democratic majority leader, dies at 82

Reid, stooped and bespectacled, was a pro-gun, pro-life Democrat and a devout Mormon. He lost his first bid for Senate in 1974, then a race for mayor of Las Vegas one year later. He became chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and later a congressman before winning his first Senate race in 1986.

Reid’s funeral was held over the weekend in Las Vegas, where President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats remembered his life and legacy. 

Biden, a former Senate colleague of Reid for 22 years, said at the funeral that “you wanted Harry in your corner,” crediting his leadership with pushing through some of the Obama administration’s greatest achievements while Biden was vice president: helping to rein in Wall Street, preserve Social Security and pass environmental protections for Nevada.

“The thing about Harry – he never gave up,” Biden said. “Let there be no doubt. Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate majority leaders in history.”

The last person to lie in state at the Capitol was former Sen. Bob Dole, a decorated World War II veteran and Kansas Republican lawmaker, who died in early December at age 98. Others have included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September 2020, presidents dating to Abraham Lincoln, vice presidents, members of Congress, military leaders and unknown soldiers from World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. 

Contributing: James DeHaven, Reno Gazette-Journal; Courtney Subramanian, Joey Garrison, USA TODAY

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