Security to be increased as thousands expected for Rev. Graham funeral

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rev. Billy Graham was a friend to presidents and leaders across the world.

Thousands are expected in Charlotte for his funeral.

Graham’s funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, but his funeral will be in Charlotte, around the same time CIAA events are beginning in the city.

Both will bring massive crowds.

No single event has brought all living presidents to Charlotte at once, but the celebration of life for Graham is expected to do so, as well as bring foreign dignitaries and other national leaders.

"That'll be a huge event, major for all the presidents to be here at one time,” Charlotte resident Tanquila Foster said.

Heavy security will be in full force across Charlotte, coordinated by local, state and federal agencies, including the Secret Service.

Officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were not ready to discuss any specific plans.

“They've always come through for the area,” Charlotte resident John Lashley said. “I'm sure it'll have  challenges, it most certainly will, but I think out of respect, a lot of people will be respectful of that."

At Graham's 95th birthday celebration in Asheville three and a half years ago, about 800 people from across the country came for the party, including now President Donald Trump.

At his wife Ruth Bell Graham’s funeral in 2007, Graham spoke about the love of his life, to whom he'd been married for nearly 64 years.

"I wish you could look in that casket, because she's so beautiful,” Graham said at the funeral.

Ruth's funeral included an afternoon full of stories, scripture and testimony, which is what we expect at Graham's funeral as well before he's buried next to his wife.

“You just think about all the people he's touched around the world, it's just been incredible. He's home. He's home now,” Lashley said.

Channel 9 expects to learn Wednesday evening when Graham's funeral will be.