Admirers line streets to see Billy Graham's motorcade


Many waved and took photographs of the hearse as it transported the USA evangelist's body from the North Carolina mountains to the city of Charlotte on Saturday.

The funeral of American evangelist and preacher Billy Graham, who passed away on February 21, will be held on Friday, March 2.

A spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the motorcade made a planned stop Saturday in the town of Hildebran, 61 miles (98 kilometers) northwest of its destination at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.

People lined the streets of Asheville to wish the reverend farewell. He'll lie in repose on Monday and Tuesday before being moved to the U.S. Capitol. People took pictures with their cell phones as the procession went through Black Mountain. The motorcade rolled through Black Mountain, where he shopped and caught trains, and Montreat, where he lived. Reverand Graham's body was driven out of his Christian Training Center in Ashville and arrived this afternoon at his library in Charlotte.

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Reverend Billy Graham, the influential Southern preacher who became a spiritual advisor to several United States presidents and millions of Americans via their television sets, died aged 99 on Wednesday last week. However, they will visit Charlotte on Monday to pay their respects to the late reverend at the Graham Family Homeplace. Graham will also lie in honour in the US Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday, the first time a private citizen has been accorded such recognition since civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005. "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.

His motorcade was led by eight highway patrol officers on motorbikes and included vehicles moving Graham's children and their families.

One of the members, Steve Spencer said, "It's sad to lose such a man, but you know there was such a celebration in heaven going on".

The private funeral is Friday at noon.