The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 2, 2010

Saying goodbye

The Register-Herald

— Thousands lined the streets of Charleston Thursday night and patiently waited through the wee hours of this morning to pay tribute to a great man.

Robert Carlyle Byrd flew home for the last time yesterday, fittingly brought back to the state he cherished by the West Virginia Air National Guard.

His casket, draped by the American flag — a symbol of the country he so loved, honored and represented as the longest serving member of Congress in the history of the United States — was taken into the Capitol Rotunda early last evening and placed beneath the shadow of a statue that was erected there in his honor a few years ago.

We have lost a true patriot, a man who can’t be replaced, an icon that history books will make reference to forever.

The Soul of the Senate, something one of our now deceased local political activists, Florene Warden, broadcast frequently through her bullhorn and displayed via billboard that graced her lawn overlooking Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley, will long be remembered by West Virginians for his focus on doing everything he possibly could to improve our way of life.

No person who walks this earth is perfect, and Byrd had his detractors. But nobody can ever say he didn’t have our best interests at heart, right along with his strong belief in the Bible and the Constitution.

Today’s memorial service on the North Plaza of the Capitol grounds is a time to not only reflect on the man, but to give thanks, celebrate his countless accomplishments and say a final goodbye to a true Mountaineer and American.

Farewell, friend.