America has honored the Rev. Billy Graham and remembered his life and deeds in a series of events. The pastor was 99 years old when he died at his Montreat, N.C., home. His funeral was held on Friday at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. Graham has been buried beside his late wife, Ruth, in the Library’s Prayer Garden.
Graham’s body lay in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda for a daylong memorial prior to his funeral. The coffin rests on a “catafalque,” a wooden stand constructed by the Architect of the Capitol for such ceremonies. Members of the public were allowed to file past the coffin after the memorial service.
The honor puts him on an exclusive list of more than 30 Americans who have lain in state or in honor in the Rotunda. Others granted the honor include lawmakers, presidents, civil rights activists, military commanders, and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. He was only the fourth private citizen to lie in honor at the Capitol.
Politicians and other well-wishers gathered at the Capitol to pay tribute to the pastor. President Trump hailed Graham as “an ambassador for Christ” at the memorial service. Trump added, “Today we say a prayer for our country, that all across this land, the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope.” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, also spoke at the memorial service, calling Graham “a happy instrument in the hands of his creator.”
Billy Graham was often called “America’s pastor”. He encouraged millions of evangelical Christians to become engaged in social and political activism, effectively changing the life of America. Graham later disdained the mixing of religion and politics, saying that he had “crossed the line.”
Modern communication technologies gave his ministry a global reach. Over the course of his six-decade-long career, Graham preached to more than 200 million people in nearly 200 countries. He also earned the nickname “Pastor to Presidents,” having met with every president since World War II. He was a counselor to many presidents throughout many decades, including Harry Truman.