Presidential Inaugurals

Presidential Prayer and National Mourning


Services of Celebration

Presidential Inaugurations
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Cathedral Celebrations

  • President Theodore Roosevelt at laying of Cornerstone (1907)
  • President Gerald R. Ford with Queen Elizabeth II – opening of nave (1976)
  • President George H. W. Bush at setting of final stone (1990)

Presidential Funerals and Memorial Services

Presidential Funerals and Burials

  • Woodrow Wilson (February 1924) – Burial rites in Bethlehem Chapel
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (April 15, 1945) – Bishop Dun officiates at FDR’s wartime funeral service in East Room of the White House
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (March 31, 1969)
  • Ronald W. Reagan (June 11, 2004)
  • Gerald R. Ford (January 2, 2007)

Presidential Memorial Services

  • William McKinley (St. Mark’s Pro-cathedral) September 18, 1901
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • William Howard Taft (March 11, 1930)
  • Warren G. Harding
  • Calvin Coolidge (January 15, 1933) – attended by President Herbert Hoover
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Harry S. Truman (January 5, 1973)
  • Richard M. Nixon

Services of National Mourning and Remembrance

  • 1918 – Woodrow Wilson attends service of thanksgiving for end of World War I
  • 1933 – USS Akron lost at sea (Navy blimp)
  • 1941 – Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and US entry into WW II
  • 1957 – Dedication of War Memorial Chapel – Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1968 – Lyndon B. Johnson attends memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1979 – Prayers for Hostages in Tehran – Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale
  • 1982 – Reagans attend Candlelight Vigil of the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans
  • 1983 – Reagans attend service in memory of the victims of the Korean Air Lines 007
  • 1998 – Bill Clinton gives memorial address at service of mourning for victims of Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
  • 2001 – All former living presidents except Reagan attend service of National Mourning and Remembrance following Terrorist Attacks of September 11
  • 2003 – Memorial Service for the Crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia attended by Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Cheney
  • 2003 – George H. W. Bush attends Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for the Dedication of the National World War II Memorial
  • 2005 – Service in honor of the victims of the London Bombings
  • 2005 – President and Mrs. Bush, and Vice President and Mrs. Cheney attend National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Victims of Hurricane Katrina, accompanied by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Presidents in the Cathedral Fabric

Heroic Statues & Sarcophagus

  • George Washington statue
  • Abraham Lincoln statue
  • Woodrow Wilson tomb

Statesmen Window

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison

Lincoln Bay

  • Civil War window
  • Statue of Abraham Lincoln – Springfield Farewell (1861)
  • Bosses – Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Reconciliation tympanum
  • Floor – Lincoln pennies

War and Peace in the Cathedral

Visitors to Washington National Cathedral are surrounded by images of both war and peace.

In addition to the two heroic statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the Lee-Jackson Bay (outer aisle, south side) depicts episodes in the life of Civil War Generals Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson, in whose memories the Bay was erected.

War Memorial Chapel in Patriot’s (South) Transept has been set apart as a lasting memorial to all Americans, living and dead, who have served their country in time of war. Hand-wrought silver altar cross and matching candlesticks on the Chapel’s altar, each piece bearing the King’s Cypher, were the gift of King George VI to Washington National Cathedral in 1951 as an expression of appreciation for the welcome extended British service man and women stationed in Washington during World War II.

  • To mark the first anniversary of VE-Day (May 8, 1945) General of the Army and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz attended a Cathedral service one year later.
  • Bethlehem Chapel – Way of Peace Entrance
  • Unveiling of the Peace Cross – William McKinley photo 1898
    Towering above the city of Washington is the Peace Cross, erected on the Close in 1898 to commemorate the end of the Spanish-American War.


Martin Luther King at Cathedral – Civil Rights

  • Invitation to MLK from Sayre – IMAGE of MLK at WNC
  • MLK at WNC – sermon audio clip

The Very Rev. Francis B. Sayre, Jr. – grandson of Woodrow Wilson

Nobel Peace-Prize Laureates memorialized in Cathedral

  • Woodrow Wilson (1919) - Founder of the League of Nations
  • John Raleigh Mott (1946) - President, World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations.
  • Frank B. Kellogg (1929), ambassador and creator, Kellogg-Briand Pact
  • Cordell Hull (1945) secretary of state, a founder of the United Nations
  • Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1952), theologian, musician, and missionary surgeon in Africa
  • George C. Marshall (1953) former secretary of state, originator of the Marshall Plan
  • The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1964) Civil rights leader

Cathedral Prize for Advancement in Religious Understanding

  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2007 inaugural prize)

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.