Yesterday, the Reverend Billy Graham was laid to rest in North Carolina. His beloved wife passed away eleven years ago and he at long last will join the love of his life. There was not a day he did not miss her. It was a packed service with President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in attendance. President Trump was escorted by Billy Graham’s grandson, a highly decorated Army Ranger and war hero. As Trump walked to the tent where Billy Graham’s family and other dignitaries had gathered in remembrance, he was met halfway by a uniformed Army Major. The two saluted each other and the Major escorted the First and Second Families to their seats.
The identity of that Major is Billy Graham’s grandson, Edward Graham. He graduated from West Point and served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was once injured by shrapnel from an IED. Major Graham escorted the President to his chair and left him with a salute. Graham was also in Washington, DC, for his grandfather’s service at the United States Capitol. Graham stood for hours, shaking the hands of all of those who were there to pay honor to Billy Graham. Edward’s father, Franklin Graham, told The Daily Caller, “These people stood outside for us and for my father.” He continued, “I will stand here for them. We love them and so does God.”
Major Graham had only one deployment that lasted for a year. The others were for four months at a time. He was deployed to combat for a total of about three years. He has three children and was born in Boone, North Carolina. Graham traveled a lot with his father growing up and met famous people, but his parents kept him grounded. “I was called to the Army,” Maj. Graham said. Just as his father and his grandfather were called to work in the ministry.
There were thousands of visitors paying their respects to the late Rev. Billy Graham at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as well and they were greeted by four special guests when they entered the Capitol Rotunda: Billy Graham’s son and three grandsons. Each person entering the room under the Capitol Dome was treated to a private conversation with Graham’s eldest son, Franklin. The younger Graham followed in his father’s footsteps and is a Christian evangelist and missionary. Franklin stood at the end of the room and shook the hand of every faithful person who entered.
Billy Graham’s funeral was described as “Billy Graham’s last crusade.” The celebration Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, of the life of one of the most influential figures in American history was inspiring. Thousands attended and millions watched as Graham was laid to rest. With the farmhouse where Graham grew up as a backdrop, more than 2,000 invited guests gathered in a 28,000-square-foot white tent meant to evoke the venue of the 1949 crusade in Los Angeles that propelled him to worldwide renown. They sang hymns, they listened to testimonies and they heard the Gospel, with an invitation to pray a simple prayer of submission to God to receive the gift of salvation. Graham would have been very proud of his send off.
Family members reminisced and spoke of the great man and his legacy to this world. Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s second oldest daughter, who he described as the most gifted preacher in the family, addressed the crowd. “I believe, from heaven’s perspective, that my father’s death is as significant as his life,” she said. “And his life was very significant.” Lotz said she knows that “before the foundations of the world, February 21st was the day God chose to take my father home.” She proceeded to give a sermon to those in attendance on the return of God. Billy Graham’s youngest daughter, Ruth Graham, also spoke.
Billy Graham’s oldest son, Franklin Graham, who succeeded him as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, summed up his father’s message. “My father preached on heaven, told millions how to find heaven, and today he is in heaven,” he said. “His journey is complete.” He said, “the Billy Graham that the world saw on TV was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home. There weren’t two Billy Grahams.”
Franklin Graham recited a now famous quote from his father: “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.” Franklin Graham directed his final thoughts to the casket in front of him. “Daddy, I won’t see you on this earth again, but I will see you again. Maybe soon, but not yet,” he said. “To God be the glory.”
Amen and may Billy Graham rest in peace.
— Susan Ferrechio (@susanferrechio) February 28, 2018
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