Admirers line streets to see Graham’s motorcade


Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Admirers took photos on their phones, firetrucks parked on freeway overpasses and police officers saluted as a motorcade carrying the body of the Rev. Billy Graham crossed the evangelist’s beloved home state of North Carolina for four hours Saturday from his mountain chapel to namesake library in the state’s largest city of Charlotte.

Adults and children stood behind wooden barricades and yellow tape as police officers saluted and admirers captured the moment on cell phones. Firetrucks parked on overpasses along Interstate 40.

“He has never really reveled in all of the celebrity. 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. “But they’ve managed to live a very normal life for such famous people. And I think he’d be very proud that his neighbors turned out and quietly celebrated his reward and his passage into heaven.”

The motorcade left the mountain chapel at the training center operated by Graham’s evangelistic association in Asheville on a long drive along Interstate 40.

It was a chance for residents in some of Graham’s favorite places to pay tribute.

He often shopped or caught trains in Black Mountain. He maintained his home in the nearby community of Montreat.

The procession is part of more than a week of mourning that culminates with his burial March 2 at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.

Graham died Wednesday at his home in North Carolina’s mountains at age 99.

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