Reverend Billy Graham, the renowned evangelist, passed away last week at the age of 99. Graham was arguably the most influential preacher of the 20th century, with his television broadcasts reaching more than 215 million people across the world.
As the news of Rev. Billy Graham’s passing spread, communities across the nation immediately started planning memorial services to honor the evangelist.
Thousands Gather for Procession
As Graham’s body was transferred to lay in repose at his boyhood home in North Carolina, thousands gathered along the interstate to watch the procession drive by and to pay their respects.
There was a viewing open to the public earlier this week, until Wednesday when Graham was transferred to the U.S. Capitol to lie in honor until his funeral service, which is set for Friday. Graham will be the fourth public individual to ever receive such an honor.
Presidents Respond to Graham’s Legacy
Graham, who gave spiritual counsel to every president dating back to Harry Truman, received condolences from both current and past presidents.
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many – and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham lived his faith fully, and his powerful words and the conviction they carried touched countless hearts and minds. https://t.co/b4QaPyFlP0
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham’s ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, “well done good and faithful servant.” Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you(2/2)
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 21, 2018
Hundreds of other public figures also took to Twitter to express their condolences. Below are some of the things they had to say.
One of the great privileges I have had in my life was to meet and introduce Dr Billy Graham at a Crusade at Raymond James Stadium. Truly one of the most inspiring men of our generation. pic.twitter.com/rbnly4xkVY
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 21, 2018
Rev. Billy Graham has finally gone home. He will forever be remembered for proclaiming the Gospel in his iconic way. I went to 3 of his crusades in my life, the 1st of which was in Columbia, SC.🙏🏼✝️
— Josh Turner (@joshturnermusic) February 21, 2018
Amazing…Rest in the arms of the Lord. Surely right now He is saying “Well done, my son.” https://t.co/I6i62JQlvD
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) February 21, 2018
Saddened by the passing of Rev. Billy Graham, a great American & faithful Christian who inspired millions of people with the gospel message. RIP.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 21, 2018
Graham’s funeral service will be a private ceremony at the Billy Graham library, with an estimated 2,300 people in attendance. According to WYFF-Greenville, Graham will “be laid to rest at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway, buried in a simple prison-made plywood coffin next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. His coffin was built by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, who typically construct caskets for fellow prisoners who cannot afford one.”
Funeral Homes Plan Memorial Services
Several funeral homes are planning their own memorial services to honor the late Rev. Graham. Below are a few examples:
- Milner & Orr, Morgan’s Funeral Home, and Lakeland Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Kentucky are all hosting a memorial register book signing for locals to express their condolences. The memorial books will then be sent to the Graham family.
- A Tennessee funeral home is planning a similar book signing event, along with a celebration of life ceremony to honor Graham.
- 8 funeral homes across Virginia are also planning a memorial register book signing for people to express their condolences.
As the nation mourns the loss of the iconic pastor and evangelist, here are some words from Billy Graham himself:
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”