View Full Version : When a First Lady dies?
01-03-2007, 08:52 PM
I don't wish ill on anyone, and I cannot remember the last former First Lady who died. ( I know Jackie Kennedy died a buncha years ago, but I don't remember the details of her funeral )
Is anything akin to a State Funeral given for a former First Lady? What about, heaven forbid, a First Lady currently living where First Ladies live?
01-03-2007, 08:58 PM
I don't think there can be anything akin to a State funeral, because the First Lady is a private citizen. She has zero Constitutional standing. If she gets a State funeral, then I should get one as well.
01-03-2007, 09:25 PM
Just for your information:
There are currently living former first ladies: Barbara Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, and Nancy Reagan. Ronald Reagan's first wife, Jane Wyman, and is also still living but she was never First Lady.
The most recently deceased former first lady was Jacqueline Kennedy, who died on May 19, 1994. The second most recent was Pat Nixon who died on June 22, 1993. Prior to that we had the deaths of Bess Truman in 1982 (who is the longest living former first lady), Mamie Eisenhower in 1979, Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962, Edith Wilson in 1961, and Grace Coolidge in 1957.
01-03-2007, 09:29 PM
What about, heaven forbid, a First Lady currently living where First Ladies live?
Three first ladies have died while their husbands were serving as President: Letitia Tyler in 1842, Caroline Harrison in 1892, and Ellen Wilson in 1914.
01-03-2007, 09:44 PM
A former First Lady would get a "private" funeral in that her family would arrange it, she wouldn't lie-in-state. However there'd be media coverage of some sort and the he family could allow public viewing in some form. The only scenario a FLOTUS would get a full state funeral is if she and POTUS were both killed at once and the it was decided to hold a double funeral.
A state funeral is an entitlement of sitting and former Presidents, and also may be granted as a matter of discretion by the President. Cite. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_funeral) One would imagine a discretionary state funeral would be accorded to someone who (1) would be mourned by much of the public and (2) was of great service to the nation. Rosa Parks, for example, although she was not given a full state funeral, lay in state at the Capitol, which is a component of the state funeral. Of course, the family of the deceased must also agree to the state funeral and what elements it will contain. Gerald Ford, for example, made his final journey in a hearse, not a horse-drawn caisson as was previously traditional. The Wiki article says that was "because it was winter and it was dark;" more likely, IMO, is the reason I have otherwise heard, which was that his family felt it was too ostentatious and out of character for him.
Here (http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/The+Funeral+Mass+for+Jacqueline+Kennedy+Onassis.htm) are the details of Jackie Kennedy's funeral (mass in New York and graveside service in Washington). There may have been some minimal armed forces involvement at the interment beside JFK at Arlington National Cemetery, because it was at Arlington, but the mass in New York was completely private. I don't know if her family was offered a state funeral for her, but it seems unlikely, given her private nature, that she would have wanted one.
Although all very admirable women, IMO none of the living former first ladies or the current First Lady have provided national service of the type or scale that would justify giving them the last respects of a grateful nation in the form of a state funeral.
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