CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Motorists pulled aside and well-wishers lined freeway overpasses to see the Rev. Billy Graham's motorcade barrel through his beloved home state of North Carolina on Saturday in a running tribute to "America's Pastor."
Adults and children stood behind wooden barricades and yellow tape as police officers saluted and admirers captured the moment on cell phones. Fire trucks 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 to his library in Charlotte, the state's largest city.
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.