Trump, Ryan honor Billy Graham at US Capitol Wednesday

Doris Richards
March 1, 2018

Some mourners who viewed Reverend Billy Graham's casket on Tuesday at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte say that experience was very emotional.

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has requested that a Gov. Charles B. Aycock statue at the U.S. Capitol be replaced by a statue of Rev. Billy Graham.

President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected Wednesday to remember "America's pastor", who died a week earlier at age 99. "He felt a great passion to those that were neglected", Trump said. "God loves you - that was his message - God loves you".

The tradition of lying in honor started in 1852, and since then only 31 people, including 11 USA presidents, have been honored in this way.

Mr. Clinton arrived shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Fred Trump was a big fan.

The Rotunda entrances were draped with black fabric, and Graham's casket rested on a black-draped catafalque beneath the soaring ceiling and its painting, the "Apotheosis of Washington".

Ryan invoked a passage from Book of Matthew 22:37 - "You should love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" - saying Graham "woke up every day and did just that".

Billy Graham will be the 32nd person and fourth private citizen to receive the distinction, and joins a list of legendary leaders including Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy and Rosa Parks. The practice is similar to government or military officials lying in state, but is used for private citizens.

"Billy's acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life-it changed our country and the world".

Franklin Graham said many have called his father the "Pastor to Presidents" since the evangelist has known every USA president since President Truman and has maintained friendships with many of them.

President Trump said his father was an admirer of Graham's and that the "legendary" American figure deserved to be recognized in the place "where the memory of the American people is enshrined".

"The GREAT Billy Graham is dead". He will be missed by Christians and all religions.

Graham's son Franklin, who took over the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, had participated in Trump's inauguration. His funeral will be held Friday in Charlotte.

Forest wrote a letter Tuesday to Stephen T. Ayers, the Architect of the U.S. Capitol, asking for a statue to be dedicated to Graham, whom he called one of North Carolina's favorite sons and a tremendous leader.

Graham had urged Dwight Eisenhower to run for president in 1952 and served as an unofficial adviser to the former general after he was elected. He also became close friends with President Lyndon Johnson and preached at the former president's funeral.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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