- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Family, friends and employees paid last respects Tuesday to Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

His casket was carried into Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington, Va., by a military honor guard, and a line formed for the late morning service in this Washington-area suburb. A single red rose, a spray of white ones and the twang of a bluegrass banjo were in the midst as mourners gathered inside a church.

The 92-year-old Mr. Byrd, who died last week, was to be buried later in the day at Columbia Gardens Cemetery, which is near Arlington National Cemetery, next to his late wife Erma.

Mr. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat who served half a century in the U.S. Senate, died at a hospital in Fairfax, Va. Tuesday’s service and burial were the culmination of a week of memorials that included his time lying in repose in his beloved Senate and a memorial in West Virginia’s capital of Charleston.

Thousands in West Virginia paid their respects at a public viewing in the West Virginia statehouse, where President Obama attended a memorial service.

Family and staff members said that Tuesday’s service, in contrast to the earlier tributes, was to focus on Robert C. Byrd away from the Senate — the husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who played the fiddle and loved his dog.

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