12/04/2018

Fox's Chad Pergram talks about lying in state in today's "The Speaker's Lobby."

I'm Chad Pergram with the Speaker's Lobby.

It's customary that former Presidents lie in state inside the Capitol Rotunda.

Such presidential ceremonies have only unfolded three times in nearly 46 years.

President Lyndon Johnson in 1973.

President Ronald Reagan in 2004.

And President Gerald Ford in late 2006-early 2007.

President Richard Nixon did not lie in state when he died in 1994. Members of Nixon's family didn't think that some of the onlookers at the Capitol would be respectful.

Reagan's service at the Capitol was extraordinary with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in attendance.

But a security scare at the Capitol punctuated the entire exercise. 

A Kentucky State Police plane carrying Governor Ernie Fletcher to Washington for the ceremonies veered off course. 

The Air Force scrambled fighter jets and authorities evacuated the Capitol in a panic not long before Reagan's body arrived at the Rotunda.

President Ford died just after Christmas. Republicans had just lost control of the House and Senate.

But for the moment, outgoing former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and departing former Senate Majority Bill Frist were pressed back into service to preside over the ceremonies.

With the Speaker's Lobby, Chad Pergram. Fox News