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Lying in repose or public viewing (AE) is the condition of a deceased person, often of high social stature, whose body is available for public viewing. Lying in repose differs from the more formal honor of lying in state, which is generally held at the principal government building of the deceased person's country and often accompanied by an honor guard.
In the United States, the distinction between lying in repose and lying in state is not often observed. However, lying in state is generally considered to be when one is placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.
The remains of presidents who die in office generally lie in repose in the East Room of the White House while those of a deceased former president generally lie in repose in his home state. However, as an example to the contrary, when John F. Kennedy lay in repose, the term meant "private" as opposed to a public lying in state.
The body of Babe Ruth lay in repose in Yankee Stadium.
Not everyone eligible to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda does so. For instance, President Richard Nixon lay in repose at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, Senator Edward Kennedy lay in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, and Senator Robert Byrd lay in repose in the Senate chamber at the Capitol.
In Canada, when deceased governors general and prime ministers lie anywhere outside of the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, they lie in repose. In the Hall of Honour, the Senate, or the foyer of the House of Commons, they lie in state.
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