Thousands pay their respects to Aretha Franklin on first day of funeral visitation in Detroit

Public visitation held at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History


DETROIT – The first day of Aretha Franklin's visitation wrapped up Tuesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

The night was capped off by a visit from Franklin's family.

Fans from near and far visited Franklin, passing the time in long lines listening to the tunes they will keep forever.

"You can't be this close to history and not come out and show support," said Braden Wilson, of Gary, Indiana.

In the first of three days of public visitation, people made it a point to show their appreciation for Franklin.

"I just had to," fan Gayle Gruenburg said. "I love her."

Love for the Queen of Soul is what made the wait well worth it. Wilson said he drove four hours. He knew Franklin and her music touched the souls of many people, but standing outside the museum, he said she touches lives even in death.

"You see all cultures, all religions," Wilson said. "No prejudices. Nothing but love."

The love continued into the night, as more than 12 hours later, there were still people filing into the rotunda.

Once inside, it was a different mood as fans saw Franklin lying in a red gown inside a golden casket.

After the last fan of the night left, white limousines arrived with Franklin's family members. It was their first public appearance since losing their family matriarch.

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