Billy Graham died at the age of 99 last week and his memorial service was attended Wednesday by some of the most powerful members of our government.
However, many will miss a very important detail about Graham’s place of honor in the Capitol.
The catafalque, the board that the casket sat upon, is almost identical to the one Abraham Lincoln’s body rested upon when he lay in state at the US Capitol after his assassination. This Lincoln catafalque has an incredible history. It has also been used to honor the likes of Antonin Scalia.
According to the Graham family, a replica of the Lincoln catafalque was used for the service:
Those who visit the Capitol Rotunda to honor Mr. Graham today and March 1 will see a simple pine plywood casket made by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana. The casket has a wooden cross nailed on top.
It seems appropriate that Mr. Graham’s pine plywood casket is supported by a pine board catafalque (raised platform) constructed hastily after the death of Abraham Lincoln. The catafalque is draped with a black cloth similar to the one used in 1865 when Lincoln lay in state.
The catafalque which holds Graham looks nearly identical to the one that held the body of Abraham Lincoln.
The Architect of the Capitol has more information on the incredible history of the Lincoln catafalque here.
An earlier version of this article stated that the catafalque Graham used was the Lincoln catafalque, it is in fact a replica.