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Paying your respects to Rev. Billy Graham at the Capitol? Here’s what you need to know

WASHINGTON — Those planning to view the body of the late Rev. Billy Graham as he lies in honor at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts when stepping into the Rotunda. And for others, there are road closures to watch out for that will impact how they get around the area.

Following a private ceremony set to include The Reverend Graham’s family and Members of Congress, the public will have their chance to pay their respects from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Graham’s body will then be escorted out of the Capitol Thursday morning.

Evangelist Billy Graham, left, poses on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 26, 1950 with Rep. Joseph Bryson (D-SC). (AP Photo/Bill Allen)

How to attend

All visitors will enter through the Capitol Visitor Center.

Those viewing, including those with special needs, can start lining up on Wednesday morning on First Street, NW/SW, between Constitution and Independence avenues, or alternatively, on Second Street, NE/SE, between East Capitol Street and Independence Avenue, SE.

Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with highs around 60, so visitors should dress in preparation for the weather.

The U.S. Capitol will open to the public at 1 p.m.

Before then, entry to the Capitol is restricted to Members of Congress and spouses, invited dignitaries, USCP credentialed guests and credentialed media from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The north and south doors will be unavailable to official business visitors until after 1 p.m.

Visitor protocol

Visitors are asked to be patient to ensure the event is both respectful and secure at all times.

Phones and other electronic devices must be turned off while inside the U.S. Capitol.

Photography and electronic recording will not be allowed while visitors are in the Rotunda viewing Graham’s body.

Banned items

Certain items aren’t allowed in the U.S. Capitol or its grounds.

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U.S. Capitol Police advise that visitors bring as few items as they can to make the security screening as quick as possible. Bags can’t be too big either, so those on vacation shouldn’t bring any luggage.

The prohibited items are:

• Firearms, including replica guns and ammunition.
• Weapons, including but not limited to: black jacks, sling shots, sand clubs, sandbags, brass knuckles, electric stun guns, knives (of any size), martial arts weapons or devices.
• Pointed objects including but not limited to: razors, box cutters, knives, knitting needles, letter openers. Pens and pencils are permitted.
• Explosives and explosive devices including Molotov cocktails, components of a destructive device and fireworks.

Other restricted items

• Bags exceeding the size of 18 inches wide x 14 inches high x 8.5 inches deep.
• Mace and pepper spray.
• Liquid, including water; open and empty clear or translucent bottles and beverage containers are allowed.
• Aerosol containers.
• Non-Aerosol spray except for prescribed medical needs.
• Sealed envelopes and packages.

Street closures

Street closures will be in effect until approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

The affected streets are:

• East Capitol Street NE/SE, from Second Street, NE/SE, to First Street, NE/SE
• First Street, NE/SE, from Constitution Ave., NE, to Independence Ave., SE

Visitors should note that there may be additional street closures around the Capitol as it becomes necessary, and other law enforcement agencies may close streets outside of Capitol Grounds if need be.

Access to the perimeter will be restricted to those with proper Capitol Police authorization and credentials.

Public transport

Visitors are strongly urged to use public transportation as there is no public parking on Capitol grounds.

The closest Metro stops are Capitol South, Federal Center SW and Union Station.

Tour buses will be allowed to drop off and pick up passengers at Peace Circle and Garfield Circle.

Capitol tours

The U.S. Capitol and The Capitol Visitor Center will be closed to all tours on Wednesday until 1 p.m. on Thursday.


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