The crowd that came to hear Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Monday filed into a Charlotte middle school past an American flag flying at half-mast.
The flag was lowered to commemorate Friday's death of North Carolina's longtime U.S. senator, Jesse Helms.
Though plane trouble force Obama to cancel, the irony of the first black presidential nominee scheduling a visit to Helms' home state on the eve of his funeral wasn't lost.
"Sen. Helms represented ... views and perspectives that were wrong-minded, that represented the last century," Jennifer Roberts, chair of the Mecklenburg County commissioners, told the crowd. "We are moving from a politics of division to a politics of unity and the future."
After days of retrospectives about Helms, the Washington Post today re-ran a column that political columnist David Broder wrote about the senator on the occasion of his 2001 retirement announcement.