All Surviving U.S. Presidents May Be at Billy Graham’s Funeral

Billy Graham shakes hands with Jimmy Carter as George H.W. Bush looks on, at the Billy Graham Library in 2007. Observer file photo

Three surviving U.S. presidents were there when the Billy Graham Library was dedicated in Charlotte in 2007, so it makes sense that as many or more might be here for Graham’s memorials and funeral next week.

Donald Trump, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have all released statements in the past day lauding the celebrated evangelist.

England’s Queen Elizabeth was also a friend of Graham’s, and it’s reported by Fox News that she will be reaching out to the family with private condolences.

The big question is: How many such dignitaries will be at the March 2 funeral and how will their presence impact security in south Charlotte? The private funeral starts at noon and President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and all former presidents have been invited. At least 2,300 people are expected to attend and there are rumors the Queen could be among them.

Should Trump and all the former presidents attend – and the Queen, too – it would be an event unlike any in history.

Adding to the city’s traffic issues: The CIAA Tournament is being held in uptown on March 1-3. It’s estimated more than 100,000 people will attend tournament events.

Charlotteans may not know until the last minute which among the former presidents plans to attend, along with other key congressional figures.

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Graham will lie in public repose Feb. 26 and 27 at his family homestead at the Billy Graham Library.

That means traffic issues will engulf Interstate 77 at the Billy Graham Boulevard/Woodlawn exit, as well as Interstate 85. Shuttle buses will take people from parking lots at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse, 7100 Forest Point Blvd. in south Charlotte, and from the Charlotte Valet Business Lot 2 at 5601 Wilkinson Blvd. at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

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SOURCE: The Charlotte Observer – Mark Price