Billy Graham Statue Unveiled in US Capitol

Billy Graham Statue Unveiled in US Capitol

Longtime friends of Billy Graham, Graham family members, members of Congress and other dignitaries gathered in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall May 16 to dedicate a statue of Billy Graham.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson opened the dedication ceremony: “As the speaker of the House, it is my pleasure to welcome you here as we honor one of America’s greatest citizens and enduring heroes.”

Johnson explained that Mr. Graham is now the fourth person in history to have received Congress’ three highest honors: the Congressional Gold Medal, lying in honor at the Capitol upon their passing, and having their statue in the Capitol. He joins civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan in receiving those honors.

Mr. Graham’s statue, created by North Carolina artist Chas Fagan, depicts him standing, left foot slightly forward, holding an open Bible in his left hand and gesturing to it with his right. Due to the height of the statue, guests will be unable to see which page the Bible is open to, but it shows Galatians 6:14, a verse Mr. Graham had underlined in his own Bible: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (KJV).

The base of the statue includes two key Scripture verses that will be clearly visible to any visitor: John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” and John 14:6—“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Two final touches are a depiction, at Mr. Graham’s feet, of a flyer from his landmark 1949 Los Angeles Crusade, and of a medallion with the face of his dear wife, Ruth Bell Graham.

“My father would be a little uncomfortable with this being here because he would want the focus to be on the One that he preached,” Franklin Graham told those in attendance. “He’d want the focus to be on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Referring to the Bible verses on the base of the statue, Franklin remarked that his father “believed the Bible, cover to cover. He didn’t understand it all, but he certainly believed it all—every word of it. Our family is honored that our earthly father will be here in this Capitol, pointing future generations to our Heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

During the ceremony, Michael W. Smith—who sang at many Billy Graham Crusades and also has sung at many events with Franklin Graham—performed the hymn “I Surrender All.”

He said that when Franklin invited him to sing at the ceremony, he simply told him to sing whatever he felt was appropriate. “I’ve loved that song my whole life,” Smith said. “I grew up singing it in church. But I thought maybe everybody here, and everybody watching, maybe needs a little dose of ‘I Surrender All.’”

Standing near the statue before the ceremony began, Mr. Graham’s granddaughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, put into perspective the lasting impact the statue can have: “This is a special day of celebration for what God did through a man who was obedient to the calling on his life. And it’s never been about Billy Graham, but always about the truth and the Gospel. And this statue depicts that. A hundred years from now, people might not know exactly who Billy Graham was, but they will see the truth and they’ll see the Gospel, with the two Bible verses. And so, Daddy Bill, in the heart of the nation, is still proclaiming the Gospel.”

Above: Graham family members and others applaud as the statue is unveiled.

Photo: Shealah Craighead / ©2024 BGEA

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