Three days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, the nation watched an elaborate state funeral unfold with great pomp, circumstance, and majesty in Washington, D.C. Americans, like most of the world, were in shock, and probably never gave a thought as to what it took to organize a major event like this on such short notice. Our British cousins, however, were incredulous.

London had been planning Winston Churchill’s funeral since the 1950s (he would not die until two years after Kennedy, in 1965). They even scheduled a week of rehearsals after the actual death took place. Shortly after the Kennedy funeral, the Duke of Norfolk, who was in charge of Churchill’s ceremony, kept asking any American he could

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