The plans for the visitation and memorial service for Rep. C.W. Bill Young have become more detailed.
Members of Congress will fly Thursday into the Tampa Bay area on U.S. Air Force aircraft, said Department of Defense spokesman Mark Wright. Pinellas sheriff's officials said buses will drive the delegation to Young's memorial service, then return them to the airport.
Those expected to attend include House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson will attend, but Sen. Marco Rubio has told the Young family he cannot.
Gov. Rick Scott is expected to attend, as are many high-ranking military leaders.
A public visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. (and possibly 9 p.m.) today at the C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center, 2801 Grand Ave., Pinellas Park. A family visitation will be from 4 to 5 p.m.
Sheriff's officials said motorists would be wise to avoid the Gateway area just north of Gandy Boulevard between U.S. 19 and 28th Street from about 2:30 to 9 p.m. Traffic is expected to be heavy because of the visitation.
There also will be significant delays along Park Boulevard from 113th Street east to 28th Street because of a motorcade from about 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Officers will be securing the intersections along the route.
Young's memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The public is invited and up to 6,000 people are expected. Guests can begin arriving at 11:45 a.m.
Sheriff's officials are advising motorists to avoid the area around the church from 11 a.m. until at least 3:30 p.m.
After the service, which is expected to last more than an hour, a procession will travel to the cemetery at Bay Pines VA Medical Center. Motorists should avoid the Bay Pines area from about 2 to 5 p.m.
As the family prepares for the funeral, Young's staff members in Washington and in Pinellas County are continuing their work. The staff is now reporting to the clerk of the U.S. House, said Salley Wood, clerk spokeswoman.
In many cases, the work of the congressional employees does not change. For example, if a constituent called Young's office two weeks ago about a problem they were having with Social Security or VA benefits, the staff will continue working to solve it, Wood said.
Asked how the staff was coping, Young's longtime press secretary Harry Glenn said, "Obviously it was a tremendous impact on the staff, because the staff all respected and loved Congressman Young."