Thousands pay respects to Rev Billy Graham
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) :
Thousands of people from all walks of life filed slowly past the casket of the Rev. Billy Graham yesterday to pay their final respects to a man who reached millions with his message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The heavy rain overnight tapered to a light, occasional drizzle around 8 a.m. Monday when the doors opened to the boyhood home of the famed evangelist, who died Wednesday at age 99.
Mourners of all races, young and old, some in suits and some in T-shirts and flip-flops, walked through the parlor where his closed casket lay on a black pedestal. They walked past family photos and a cross made of white lilies to see the simple plywood container made by prison inmates. And at the door for the first few hours was Graham's grandson, Roy, shaking the hand of every person who came to see his grandfather.
Viewing to continue
Public viewing will continue Monday and Tuesday at Graham's Charlotte library on the campus of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
His body will then be taken to the U.S. Capitol, where Wednesday and Thursday he will be the first private citizen to lie in honor there since civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005. Graham's funeral is Friday, and President Donald Trump said he will attend. Invitations were sent to all ex-presidents of the U.S. George W. Bush was coming to pay his respects Monday because he had a scheduling conflict with the funeral.
The funeral will be held in a giant tent as a nod to Graham's 1949 Los Angeles crusade. That revival, which Graham said propelled him to worldwide fame, was held in a circus tent dubbed the "Canvas Cathedral." The man called 'America's Pastor' would eventually preach to an estimated 210 million people in person and many more through his pioneering use of prime-time telecasts, network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic films and satellite TV hookups.