By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands have paid their respects to long-time Penn State coach Joe Paterno in two public viewings. Paterno will be laid to rest today in a private burial.
The line for the viewing at some points stretched nearly a quarter-mile, with people waiting up to three hours to pass by the closed casket of the man many call the patriarch of the Penn State family.
As one mourner put it, “I don’t normally do this for celebrities but I just — I don’t know, it felt like family.”
“The feeling I have was like I just lost a grandparent,” another said. “Like, I just had to come up here and pay respects personally. Just to see what he’s done for this campus, there are no words.”
People started lining up well before 7 a.m. for this morning’s viewing (scheduled from 8 a.m.-noon). During the public viewing, an honor guard of one current and one former player watched over the casket.
After a private service, the funeral procession will wind through campus, passing Beaver Stadium.
Everything wraps up tomorrow afternoon with a public memorial service at the Bryce Jordan Center on campus.
10,000 free tickets to that memorial were gone within 10 minutes, but the university says it’s at the smaller arena instead of the football stadium, because that’s what the Paterno family requested.