A government press release issued today states that the late Rev. Billy Graham would be brought to the U.S. Capitol on Wed. Feb. 28th, where he will lie in honor in the Rotunda until Thursday, March 1.
“Members of the public and Capitol Hill community are invited to pay their respects to the late reverend while he lies in rest. Further logistical information and media guidance will be issued in the coming days.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plan to take part in the bicameral service upon the arrival or Rev. Graham’s casket next week.
The press release also gives details of Billy Graham’s years of ministry and the impact of his life and service on our nation, “Born in 1918, he spread the gospel in 185 countries during his 99 years on Earth, touching the lives of many and forever changing the course of the world’s spiritual health. He served as an advisor to 12 consecutive U.S. presidents and reached millions more through radio, television, and film. Rev. Graham is survived by his five children and multiple grand- and great-grandchildren, fellow North Carolinians, and brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.”
Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell issued a formal letter of invitation to Rev. Franklin Graham in which they expressed their sincere condolences and said, “In recognition of Rev. Graham’s long and distinguished service to the nation, it is our intention to ask the House of Representatives and the Senate to permit that his remains lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol. With your approval, we will move forward with these arrangements, so that Americans have this opportunity to pay their respects to Rev. Graham before he is laid to rest.”
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association shares, “The tradition of lying in honor (in the case of private citizens) and lying in state (for members of the government) dates back to 1852. Since then, only 31 individuals, including 11 U.S. presidents, have been chosen to be honored in such a way. Billy Graham will become the 32nd overall, and only the fourth private citizen to receive this distinction. He will join a legendary list that includes Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Rosa Parks.”
They went on to say that those who visit the Capitol Rotunda to honor Mr. Graham during that timeframe will see a “simple pine plywood casket made by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana. The casket has a wooden cross nailed on top.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the morning Rev. Graham left this world for his heavenly home:
“The life and ministry of the Rev. Billy Graham was dedicated to a sweeping mission: proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every part of the world. Rev. Graham preached, in person, to more than 200 million people in 185 countries. Through books, radio, and television, he brought the Word of God into countless homes.
“As soaring a figure as he was, Rev. Graham connected with people on an elemental level. His reach was rooted in decency, humility, and love. He set a tone of ecumenical inclusion, advocated civil rights, and refused to accept the segregation of those attending his crusades. Rev. Graham’s service is a testament that, with faith in God, one person can do so much good for the world.
“Beyond his achievements as a preacher and counselor to presidents, Rev. Graham will be remembered as a devoted husband to the late Ruth Bell Graham and a loving family man. The whole House sends its condolences to the Graham family at this time of loss.”
Publication date: February 22, 2018