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Lincoln Funeral Relic Still Used To Honor American Dignitaries05:01
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The casket bearing body of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist lies in the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005.  The casket rests on the Lincoln Catafalque, the platform that bore President Abraham Lincoln's remains following his death in 1865. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
The casket bearing body of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist lies in the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005. The casket rests on the Lincoln Catafalque, the platform that bore President Abraham Lincoln's remains following his death in 1865. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
This article is more than 6 years old.
An illustration in Harper's Weekly in May 1865 depicts President Lincoln's funeral. (Library of Congress)
An illustration in Harper's Weekly in May 1865 depicts President Lincoln's funeral. (Library of Congress)

A platform hastily built to display President Lincoln's body in the U.S. Capitol rotunda is a simple wooden structure, but it has a long history.

The platform, known as a catafalque, is still used to this day when American dignitaries die. The coffins of presidents McKinley, Taft, Johnson, Ford and Eisenhower were placed on it in the rotunda. So was former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and more recently, Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye.

Barbara Wolanin, curator for the Architect of the Capitol, discusses the catafalque with Here & Now's Robin Young.

Guest

This segment aired on April 21, 2015.

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