Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid returned to the Capitol for the last time Wednesday, cementing his legacy in national history. Reid is the first Nevadan to lie in state in the Washington D.C. Capitol Rotunda.
On a freezing morning Wednesday, his casket was carried by a military honor guard up the East Steps to the Capitol Rotunda. Reid was placed on the Lincoln catafalque. According to the Architect of the Capitol, the casket stands first used after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to the Capitol Rotunda to pay his last respects to Reid, a former Senate majority leader. Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., paid tribute to Reid in a ceremony as his flag-draped casket was surrounded by senators, members of Congress, military, and family.
Reid died on Dec. 28 at home following a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82. A kid from dust-blown Searchlight, a Nevada mining town of brothels, Reid later became an amateur boxer who punched above his weight to the most powerful job in the Senate. Reid’s memorial program noted his service as a Capitol Police officer, from 1961 to 1964. He moonlighted as an officer as he attended law school.
As majority leader, Reid used his political power to expand health care coverage, provide an economic stimulus during the Great Recession and stop a permanent nuclear waste repository in his home state.
His wife of 62 years, Landra, and their children, Lana Barringer, sons Rory, Josh, Leif, and Key, and grandchildren, watched from a section that also included Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Harry Reid is one of only 34 individuals who have lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda, and he is only the 15th senator to receive the honor. The first senator to receive such a ceremony was Henry Clay of Kentucky, who died June 29, 1852.
Reid’s body is expected to be returned to Nevada, where a private burial is planned in Searchlight.
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