Admirers salute Graham as motorcade crosses N. Carolina

Brian Hall  WFMY News 2

Brian Hall WFMY News 2

The Rev. Billy Graham's body was to be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers.

The body of Reverend Billy Graham, a spiritual advisor to several presidents, will lie in the US Capitol Rotunda next week so Americans can pay respect to the globally influential preacher, lawmakers said Thursday.

Billy Graham who was often referred to as "America's Pastor" passed away Wednesday at the age of 99. Those wanting to view Graham's casket will be shuttled from two off-site locations: the parking lots at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center, 7100 Forest Point south Charlotte, and Charlotte Valet Business Lot 2 (self-parking) at 5613 Wilkinson Blvd.

The procession reached the Billy Graham Library literally four hours after it left the training center to head for Charlotte, where the evangelist was born.

Speaking on Saturday, his son Franklin Graham said: "My father made me promise long ago that we would take him back to Charlotte after he died, and that's what we're in the process of doing right now".

The procession is part of more than a week of mourning that culminates with his burial Friday at his library. People took pictures with their cell phones as the procession went through Black Mountain. "It's come with the territory", said Joe Tyson, a family friend who runs a furniture store in Black Mountain, where he watched the procession.

A viewing will be held at the library in Charlotte on Monday and Tuesday. "And I believe because of his service to humanity, that he's truly gonna be great in the kingdom of heaven".

Ruby Sparks, 85, attended a Graham youth ministry meeting in 1951, when she was a college student in Greensboro, N.C., and met Graham in 1970. "Not in my lifetime". He'll be laid to rest next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. They typically build caskets for fellow prisoners who can not afford them.

Approximately 2,300 invitations were issued for the private funeral, including to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and former presidents, George H W Bush, George W Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Mr DeMoss said.

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