CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 1,000 people lined the streets of downtown Charleston on Thursday to remember and pay tribute to Sen. Robert C. Byrd.
The young and the old, from those dressed in T-shirts and shorts to those dressed in business suits, came out to be a part of a moment in West Virginia's history.
For some, the moment was to pay respects to a man they said was a fearless advocate for residents of the state. Others cited purely emotional reasons for wanting to walk behind Byrd's coffin as it made its way to the state Capitol.
Danny Cook, 46, came from Boone County because he wanted to lay flowers at Byrd's coffin. Cook said he came to know Byrd after he visited him at his Washington office in the late 90's.
"I looked up to him, he was a great man and he did a good job as ... senator," Cook said.
Charleston resident Bill Rectenwald, 62, held back tears as he spoke about Byrd's character and love for the state.
Rectenwald said he met Byrd in 1966 while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He said Byrd visited his unit to talk to the seamen from West Virginia.
"He said, 'Young man, how are they treating you?'" Rectenwald said.
Regina Mcintyre, 51, of Fairmont, said she wanted to pay her respects to Byrd even though she has lived in the state for just three years.