The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 2, 2010

Thousands pay respects at Capitol

By Christopher J. Jackson
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — The lights were out on the Capitol’s dome Thursday night as thousands came to show their respect for a man who gave an immeasurable amount to the state he loved — Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

“This is a historical event; it’s something you want to experience,” Debbie Shamblin said. “The man has been in office longer than I have lived.”

Shamblin is from Romance, a small community in Jackson County, but she works in Kanawha County and attended the procession and viewing.

She added, “It would be rude not to be here just for what he’s done for the state alone.”

“I love Robert Byrd,” Charleston native Sheila Melton uttered while standing in line at the Capitol. “He died doing what he loved to do.”

A line of citizens, most of whom voted for Byrd sometime in their life, and people younger than the voting age stretched from one side of the Capitol past the Culture Center and into the parking lot.

Jody Keenan wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Byrd.

He is a contractor with the C-130s in Charleston and came to pay his respect for “the greatest man this state has ever had.”

“West Virginia will never see another man like this,” he said. “He is the best friend this state has ever had. He’s brought billions to our state and fought hard for us.”

Terry Barron stood in line outside the Capitol waiting for his chance to pay his respects to Byrd.

“I think any West Virginian deserves this moment,” Barron said. “This man has given us so much, and being in this line is so little that we could do for him.

“God bless Sen. Byrd.”