INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Former Sen. Richard Lugar was brought to the Statehouse Tuesday, where he will lie in state for 24 hours.
The Statehouse is open to the public to come pay their respects to the man credited with revitalizing Indianapolis as a mayor and dismantling nuclear, biological and chemical weapons around the world as a U.S. senator.
“In so many ways, we know that Dick Lugar will never truly leave us and we can take great joy in that,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said at a short service Tuesday. “He made such a tremendous impact on our state and nation and world during his time on Earth. He truly made Indiana a better place, the world a much safer one.”
The Lugar family stayed after Tuesday’s service to greet well-wishers. The Statehouse will stay open through sundown Tuesday (8:51 p.m.). Public viewing will continue Wednesday from 8 – 11 a.m.
“In his love and through his courage, Richard Lugar helped bring more peace to an increasingly dangerous world,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “He did so in every nuclear, chemical and biological weapon disarmed; he did so to every starving child who now has food; he did so through every public servant who extends a hand across the aisle; and he did so in every citizen of this nation who hopes for a future of more progress and less partisanship. … In his presence, you felt these things – the love, the courage, the integrity.”
Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar who served as Indianapolis’ mayor for eight years before getting elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. He served 36 years in Washington – longer than any other Indiana politician. He missed out on a seventh term when he lost his 2012 primary over accusations among conservative voters that he cooperated too much with Democrats and President Barack Obama.
In 2013, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and he received the rank of honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on orders from the queen of England.
A full memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The service is open to the public, but a large enough crowd is expected that registration is required. A message on the Lugar Center’s website says registration is full. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to deliver the eulogy.