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Thousands mourn President Monson

Thousands mourn President Monson (Photo: Dan Rascon Twitter)

(KUTV)- By 5 PM Thursday afternoon, more than 31,500 people had made their way through the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City to pay their respects to President Thomas S. Monson.

The viewing is scheduled to go until 8 PM Thursday night.

The 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away the night of January 2 at 90-years-old.

Logoitino Apelu and John Muaina carried a large flowered wreath straight from the church owned Polynesian Culture Center in Oahu to honor their fallen leader.

“President Monson has been such a close friend of the Polynesian Culture Center. He loves the Polynesian people,” Apelu said.

The bouquet was entirely hand crafted out of dried bandanna and coconut leaves. It took many hours over several days to make, but Apelu says that didn’t matter to those who made it.

“It doesn’t matter how long it take. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is to send it, we still have to do it,” Apelu said. “It reminds us of [Pres. Monson] he was always carrying about people.”

“It’s just an extension of many people from the Pacific Islands extending their love to Pres. Monson,” Muaina said.

Apelu and Muaina were not alone in their feelings. The Johnson family named their youngest boy Thomas after Pres. Monson.

“Because we wanted him to be kind and love people,” Serinda Johnson said.

Aracely Pacheco from El Salvador remembers when she bumped into President Monson in an elevator in the LDS Salt Lake Temple.

“I was in shock. This is the prophet. I said, ‘hi nice to meet you’. I cry when he shake my hand,” Pacheco said.

Monson’s funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday afternoon at 12 PM at the Conference Center.

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