Waiting in Line to Pay Their Respects to Joe
Joe Paterno - educator, coach, humanitarian - beloved by so many of Penn State's faithful, passed away on Sunday.
At the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on campus, a public viewing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and evening and Wednesday morning. Services culminated in a private funeral for Joe on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a funeral procession through campus, around the stadium one last time, and through downtown. A public memorial service was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
I was on campus Tuesday for meetings and snapped a few photos of the line of people waiting to say farewell to Joe. The line was long, stretching from the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, past the Forum, through the Palmer Museum (shown in this photograph), along the Visual Arts building, past Borland Lab and the old Creamery location, and ending on Shortlidge Road.
The news reported the next day that more than 27,000 people stood in this line, some for two hours or more, to get in to Joe's viewing. They reported that the casket inside was closed, that it was attended at all times by two football players - one current, one past.
In the line outside, I saw old people, young people, people in wheelchairs, babies in strollers, every size and shape and age and condition of people that you can imagine. At one point I saw someone passing a box of pizza back the line.
People were quietly talking to strangers, swapping stories about Joe. They were amazingly patient; nobody was complaining about the wait, or the cold. They all just wanted one more chance to pay their respects to Joe.
Paterno series, 2 of 4; see also photos from January 23, 25, and 26.