The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Remembering Senator Robert C. Byrd

June 30, 2010

Byrd to lie in Senate chamber where he served

Obama, Biden to attend service in Charleston; Byrd’s body also to lie in repose in state Capitol Rotunda

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Charleston on Friday to attend memorial services for Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

Byrd died Monday at age 92. The West Virginia Democrat was the longest-serving senator in history.

Byrd’s body will lie in repose inside the U.S. Senate chamber on Thursday before being flown to West Virginia for a public memorial service Friday.

Byrd’s final appearance on the Senate floor, where he became famous for soaring oratory and record-setting speeches, will be as historic as the senator himself. A senator’s casket last lay in repose there in 1959, the year Byrd joined the chamber. He was the longest-serving member of Congress ever and was third in line to the presidency.

From Washington to Byrd’s beloved West Virginia, lawmakers, aides, law enforcement officials and journalists spent much of Tuesday on preparations for the event. The Senate was expected to approve a resolution to allow Byrd’s casket to lie in repose within the chamber.

Byrd’s journey to his final resting place near his wife, Erma, stretches from Washington to Charleston to Arlington, Va., for burial on Tuesday.

Byrd’s office said the hearse carrying the senator’s casket will arrive at the Senate steps at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, where an honor guard will carry it into the Senate chamber. There, it will be placed on the same catafalque built to support President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin and has been used for those of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan and others.

At 10:15 a.m. the public galleries above the Senate floor will be opened for viewing while Byrd’s family receives members of the House and Senate. Chaplain Barry Black will offer prayer at 10:30 a.m., according to the schedule.

Six hours after the casket’s arrival, Byrd will leave the Senate for the last time. A hearse will take the casket to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for a flight to Charleston.

Gov. Joe Manchin’s office said Byrd’s body will lie in repose in the state Capitol’s Rotunda from 9 p.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday. The public will be permitted to pay respects to Byrd during the 12-hour viewing.

Back in Washington, there is ample precedent for memorial ceremonies in the Senate chamber, but none has occurred since North Dakota Republican William Langer’s funeral in 1959, according to the Senate Historian’s Office.

Including Langer, 46 senators have lain in repose in the Senate chamber. One additional funeral, the first, was held there for a New Yorker who never was a senator: George Clinton, Thomas Jefferson’s second vice president, lay in repose on April 21, 1812.

Others include South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun in 1850, Kentucky’s Henry Clay in 1852 and Wisconsin’s Joseph McCarthy in 1957.

Text Only
Remembering Senator Robert C. Byrd
  • 8ByrdFuneral Sen. Byrd laid to rest

    As Sen. Robert C. Byrd was being laid to rest after a week of memorials, a niece eulogized him Tuesday as a person who suffered from dyslexia. The revelation surprised others in Byrd’s family, who later said they had no knowledge that the West Virginia senator suffered from the learning disability.

    July 6, 2010 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • SLIDESHOWS - Senator Robert C. Byrd


    Click HERE to see a slideshow of Byrd's casket being placed in the Senate chamber Thursday morning.

    Click HERE to see a slideshow of preparations before Byrd's arrival in Charleston.

    Click HERE to see a slideshow of Byrd's last visit to West Virginia.

    Click HERE to see a slideshow of Byrd's funeral in Arlington, Va.

    July 1, 2010 4 Slideshows

  • byrd1 Robert C. Byrd Memorialized

    Eulogies flowed freely and abundantly Friday like the megabucks he delivered to his adopted and beloved West Virginia in a tribute that ushered in the big league players of politics to pay respects to Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    July 3, 2010 3 Photos

  • ByrdFriMem5 Obama, others attend service honoring Byrd in Charleston

    President Barack Obama and thousands of ordinary West Virginians honored the late Robert C. Byrd at a memorial service in the late senator’s home state Friday.

    July 2, 2010 8 Photos

  • byrd4A,jpg Saying goodbye

    July 2, 2010 1 Photo

  • Byrd 1a1 Senator Byrd makes final visit to state

    Hundreds of mourners lined the streets leading to West Virginia’s state Capitol on Thursday night to say goodbye to Robert C. Byrd, the nation’s longest-serving U.S. senator.

    July 2, 2010 13 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Byrd 1a2 Thousands pay respects at Capitol

    The lights were out on the Capitol’s dome Thursday night as thousands came to show their respect for a man who gave an immeasurable amount to the state he loved — Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    July 2, 2010 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Byrd succession status remains question mark

    Questions surrounding his successor abound in the wake of Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s death, and one key aspect remains under a cloud of uncertainty — a potential move to alter West Virginia law for a special election this year.

    July 2, 2010

  • byrdfans.jpg Alumni group remembers Byrd as politician, friend

    July 2, 2010 2 Photos

  • Moore once considered race against Byrd

    July 2, 2010