Thousands say goodbye to the late Rev. Graham as public visitation in Charlotte ends
For the second day, the faithful flocked to Charlotte on Tuesday to bid farewell to the Rev. Billy Graham, who died last week at his Montreat home.
They filed through the family homeplace, where his casket lies in repose, awaiting Friday's private funeral.
Thousands walked through, making the most of their last chance to say goodbye. Bathed in a golden sunset, people waited in line to get a glimpse of the casket that will carry Graham to his final earthly resting place.
Some made the drive down the mountain, bearing witness to a man who led the way for so many.
"To get as close to God as you can, you get as close as you can to the guy that touched more people than anybody since Jesus Christ himself," Johnny McCall, of Brevard, said.
There's much to be done before Friday's funeral. Electrical cable is still being strung, and seats set up for 2,300 invited guests. The service will take place inside a tent that's still very much under construction.
Under a moonlit dust Tuesday, Charlotte minister Theron Hobbs and his son, Tanner, took it all in, seeing the scale in relative terms.
"I think through this venue, not just experiencing this event, but the message beyond that, I think that's what's important," the Rev. Theron Hobbs said.
It was important enough for another former president to pay a visit and pay tribute.
Like George W. Bush on Monday, Bill Clinton was accompanied into the family homeplace parlor by Franklin Graham.
Clinton then talked about the late evangelist, the man who offered spiritual guidance to so many.
"We all believe that it's faith plus nothing. He wasn't faith plus nothing He lived. He showed his faith by his works and by his life," Clinton said.
Miss North Carolina Indian Coalition queen Wanda Locklear-McCall, who represents the eight tribes of this state, came to walk through the parlor, see the casket and share a message of joy.
"The only thing I wanted to say is happy celebration, happy celebration because he's no longer here, he's in heaven, and my mother's there," Locklear-McCall said. "And he's gone on, to see the reward that he's worked so long for, to see Christ himself."