Thousands pay respects to Graham


Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Thousands of people from all walks of life – including a former president – filed slowly past the coffin of the Rev. Billy Graham on Monday to pay their final respects to a man who reached millions with his message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

A light drizzle greeted mourners on hand at 8 a.m. when the doors opened to Graham’s boyhood home, but it had tapered by the late afternoon when former President George W. Bush arrived with his wife, Laura. The viewing was expected to last late into the night for 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 Graham’s closed coffin 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. 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.

“I just wanted to tell them how much I appreciated the love for my family,” Roy Graham said.

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