SEARCHLIGHT, Nev. (KLAS) — Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid laid in state in the U.S Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday — one of the highest honors our country can bestow.
President Joe Biden and other leaders gathered to pay their respects during a ceremony. But the nation’s capital is not where the late senator will be laid to rest.
Reid’s final resting place will be in the town where he was born, Searchlight, Nevada. The senator even took time to show 8 News Now the exact gravesite.
In multiple interviews over the past few years, 8 News Now always asked Reid how he was feeling. He was typically candid but never morose about his prospects for survival.
“I’ve told you before, you play the cards you’re dealt,” Reid told the 8 News Now I-Team’s George Knapp.
After he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2018, many — including the New York Times — assumed Reid would be gone within six months or so, but he defied the odds, no surprise to those who knew him.
As usual, though, Reid was way ahead of the curve in planning for his own death. In 2006, Reid invited the I-Team to visit a graveyard.
“I’m named after this guy here,” Reid said. “This is Mason Reid. My middle name is Mason. He was killed as a young man down here. A mine blew up.”
A modest cemetery in the hardscrabble town of Searchlight is the spot Reid chose for his final resting place. His parents are buried there, along with other family members.
Reid was born just a stone’s throw from the cemetery in a one-room shack with an outhouse for a bathroom. His hard-drinking father was a miner. His mom did laundry for a local bordello.
Reid is not only a part of Searchlight’s history, he literally wrote the book on it. There was never any doubt about where he wanted to be buried.
The Searchlight home he built during his Senate career was a defacto Reid museum filled with items that interested him.
“Here, I’ll show you the bathroom. This is my prized possession, a signed poster of the Grateful Dead,” Reid said in one interview.
In recent days, Reid has been lauded by the nation’s most powerful people. In Searchlight, he’s remembered as the guy they would run into at the coffee shop. And to those who knew him best, as far back as his high school yearbook, he’s remembered for his dry, sly wit.
“Here I am, most humorous, right next to the most attractive, and she was very pretty but here I am, not very pretty but very funny,” Reid said about his yearbook.
After Reid retired from the Senate five years ago, the I-Team produced an hour-long special about his long and colorful life. The special can be seen here.