Rotunda Welcomes Visitors, Not Video Cameras and Weapons
Thursday, June 10, 2004; Page A26
U.S. Capitol Police advised people planning to pay their respects to former president Ronald Reagan as his body lies in state in the Rotunda that there is a long list of prohibited items.
Officials said they were overwhelmed yesterday by the mountains of articles -- from cameras to flower bouquets -- that mourners tried to lug through the Rotunda.
The easy part was dispatching the flowers, stuffed animals and cards that mourners thought they'd be able to take to the coffin. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer helped set up their contributions along the western edge of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, in a memorial that grew throughout the night.
More challenging was the heap of lawn chairs, bags and umbrellas that quickly began to build. Police attempted to set up a receipt system for the prohibited items, but that soon became unmanageable. They then used a truck to transport the items from the south end of the Capitol to the west side, requiring visitors to find their own belongings.
Gainer said the same system would be used today.
Among items prohibited inside the Rotunda are: cameras, flowers, book bags, oversized bags, suitcases, audio and video recording devices, guns, knives, stun guns, ammunition, razors, box cutters, mace, pepper spray, any aerosol spray, cans, bottles, food and beverages.
And, "please, don't wear your baseball caps inside," Gainer said.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company