Rev. Billy Graham will be laid to rest in Charlotte on Friday

Casey Dawson
March 6, 2018

For his family, the idea became capturing the feeling of the crusades that made Graham "America's Pastor" and the world's best-known Protestant preacher of his era.

President Donald Trump bowed his head quietly as the Rev. Billy Graham was honored at his funeral Friday with prayers, stories, hymns and bagpipes.

As most of Graham's contemporaries have died over the years, like the gospel singer George Beverly Shea, who sang at the early Graham crusades, the guest list included relatives of his children and grandchildren.

Franklin Graham's funeral message followed shorter remarks by his siblings in a service that lasted just over an hour before an invitation-only crowd of approximately 2,000.

Standing behind the same pulpit his father preached behind on many of his crusades in the 1990s, Franklin Graham delivered a powerful message eulogizing his father.

President Trump and Vice President Pence are among those in attendance, along with several lawmakers. "There weren't two Billy Grahams", local newspaper the Charlotte Observer quoted him as saying.

Graham's casket was marched out of the U.S. Capitol by an honor guard representing all branches of the military on a rainy Thursday morning, as his earthly body left the Rotunda, where he lay in honor on Wednesday.

"There weren't two Billy Grahams", Franklin said. Graham, who spent a decade planning his own funeral, wanted the message to be delivered beneath a tent because that's how his crusades began in the late 1940s.

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The final hymn of the Billy Graham funeral had special meaning for the evangelist, his friends and loved ones.

The service features songs from gospel musicians who performed at Graham's events: McCrary-Fisher, Michael W. Smith and the Gaither Vocal Band. "But I think when he died, that was something very strategic from Heaven's point of view", said his daughter Anne Graham Lotz.

Graham while he lay in repose at the Billy Graham Library on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Mr. Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, have personally donated to Samaritan's Purse, which was involved in relief work after Hurricane Harvey.

He said that, "the Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadium was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home". They are all friends who sang for Graham at his home in recent years, DeMoss said.

"I liked the simple coffin with a cross on top", he said in 2006.

Graham's headstone will carry his name, dates of birth and death and the inscription "Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ" above the Bible reference "John 14:6". During a preaching engagement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, Rev. Franklin Graham learned inmates had been building caskets for other inmates who died while serving their sentences.

Billy Graham's family says the casket was made with no upgrades, and only minor modifications to allow for easy transport.

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