I need to get to an appointment but I wanted to make sure and at least post my story from Helms' funeral today. Someone else covered the actual funeral. I focused on who attended. More tomorrow..
RALEIGH -- A number of high profile people attended Jesse Helms' funeral.
From the Vice President to U.S. Senators, some big names said goodbye to Senator Helms.
More than two hours before the funeral started, mourners began arriving, including Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.
"He supported mass transit, he was really tough on foreign policy and yet he was also friends with Bono the rock singer, but he was always consistent in the way he treated people and that's why I admired him," Mayor McCrory said.
Not long after, three white limousines brought the family of Helms to the church. Then a short time later two buses filled with members of Congress arrived, including Elizabeth and Bob Dole, Richard Burr, and at least two Democrats.
Moments later Senator Burr greeted Republican Presidential candidate John McCain's wife Cindy.
Governor Mike Easley and UNC system President Erskine Bowles walked into the church together followed by more than a dozen state lawmakers.
Shortly before 2:00pm, the Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney arrived.
"That to me says more about Jesse Helms than some of the things I've seen written lately," Helms' Chief of Staff Jimmy Broughton said. "When you have the funeral and that's a celebration of life and look who shows up to pay tribute to that life. It's the most diverse crowd ever."
After the funeral pall bearers brought Helms flag draped coffin down the stairs of the church. The family then followed to a private burial service.
Those who know Helms best say he would be shocked by the turnout for his own funeral with all the high profile politicians.
"He would have been blown away, totally overwhelmed if you would have said the Vice President would attend his funeral," Broughton added.
"He remained a common man and he told the people the truth and I think they always respected him for that," Sen. Fred Smith (R-Johnston) said.
Helms no doubt created a great deal of controversy during his life, but in death, it appears he will be most remembered for his courage to stand up for his beliefs.