CHARLESTON-- Hundreds of West Virginians gathered outside of the state Capitol Friday for a public memorial for the late Democratic Senator Robert C .Byrd, who died Monday at age 92.
They came to pay their respects along with President Obama, former President Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers.
Byrd, who was first elected to the Senate in 1958, brought home billions of dollars in federal funding to his home state over the years, and his constituents were grateful.
Wheeling, WVa. resident Brian Macaulay said he came to the memorial to “honor all of the hard work [Byrd] did for our state. He kept reminding Washington of the interests of West Virginia.”
Chris Sforza of Charleston had a one word answer when asked what Byrd did for the state. “Roads,” she said.
The Republican Mayor of Charleston agrees. Mayor Danny Jones said, “When he was elected to Congress, we had 4 miles of four-lane highways in the entire state of West Virginia, and Robert C. Byrd set out to change that. And he did.”
In fact, there are now over one-thousand miles of four-lane highways in the state. And many of those roads are named in honor of Senator Byrd, as are many buildings, courthouses, and educational centers.
Byrd, who grew up in a poor, rural, coal-mining area of West Virginia, never forgot his humble roots, according to another West Virginian who attended the public memorial. Farrell Kelly from Clover Lick WV said he had “known [Byrd] since I was a kid,” and even after decades in Washington, he “kept like he was a normal person.”
Read the full program for the service here.
Molly Henneberg joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Washington bureau.