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Mandela service to be held at National Cathedral

Sunday - 12/8/2013, 7:40pm  ET

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray talks about the late Nelson Mandela. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

UPDATE: 11:51 a.m. EST 12/08/2013:

The South African Embassy says that a limited number of tickets to the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, is available for the public. The application form is on the embassy's website, and the form must be completed by midday Monday.

Tickets will be allocated subject to availability in the order requests are received. If you are allocated a ticket you will receive instructions about where and when to collect it.

EARLIER:

WASHINGTON -- The Washington National Cathedral will host the United States' memorial for the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

The service for Mandela will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m. South Africa's Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool says there will be tickets available, but they haven't announced when and where those will be available.

"It should be done in the National Cathedral, a historic site, where people who mean something in this world are having their final journey from," said Rasool.

Rasool says the news of Mandela's death has been hard on his people. ""This has been a traumatic almost 24 hours for South Africans and as we have discovered for people across the world," he said. "Even though we have anticipated that Nelson Mandela will not be with us forever, we can't help but be shocked."

He says the South African Embassy will hold a prayer vigil for Mandela the day before the service at 7 p.m. It will be held next to a statue of Mandela.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says the District called Mandela an inspiration to many.

"Within my life, there have only been a select few people who have stood on the steps of greatness and have the distinct honor of seeing their seemingly impossible dreams become a reality," Gray said. "So, many of residents participated frequently in protests and demonstrations even being arrested at the South African embassy as they joined the fight to end Apartheid."

The mayor signed a book of condolences setup at the South African Embassy for anyone who wishes to sign it. He also announced another book will be at the Wilson Building for visitors to sign on Monday and Tuesday. That book will be delivered to South Africa.

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