Special on Presidents’ funerals


The White House Historical Association recently published a special feature on presidents’ funerals. Their website has an interactive display worth checking out.  I predict the network anchors will have this site up on their computers while they talk — it carries details of several presidents’ funerals, and a nice photo display.

I found the link through an article in the Austin American-Statesman. It mentions the print version of the historical journal, but I cannot find a link to it, nor any other mention of it (if you go to the paper’s story, note that their link to the White House Historical Association site was incorrect as of early on January 2).

Some tidbits gleaned from Ms. Faulkner’s article: The official government name for pall bearers is “body bearers.” The official name for a rifle honor corps is “firing party.” On the day after the death of a president or ex-president, a gun is fired every half hour at Army installations from reveille to retreat. On the day of burial, those installations fire a 21-gun salute at noon and a 50-gun salute (one per state) at five-second intervals following the lowering of the flag.

The Army’s Military District of Washington has prime responsibility for presidential funerals, but ex-presidents and their families are involved in the planning.

“Like most men my age, I have given a thought or two to my funeral,” Ford said in a November 2005 eulogy for presidential historian Hugh Sidey. “As a former president, I’m almost required to since the military periodically updates its own plans and each presidential family is solicited for personal touches.”

Ford had originally asked retired Time Magazine correspondent Hugh Sidey to deliver the euology at the funeral, a tip of respect to journalists in general. Unfortunately, Sidey died last year. (I also cannot find Ford’s tribute to Sidey; if you find the link, please send it along.)

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