On Saturday, Feb. 24, in Asheville, N.C., a light, early morning mist gave way to partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s. Graham family members gathered at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove for a private prayer service, then started toward Charlotte in an extraordinary 10-car motorcade.
The 130-mile trip to the Billy Graham Library saw an outpouring of heartfelt gratitude. Thousands lined the roads—even Interstate 40. Fire engines and ambulances stopped on every overpass, with lights flashing, emergency responders standing at attention and flags billowing from ladder trucks.
People held signs: Well Done! Thank you, Preacher. More Alive Than Ever! They saluted, or raised their hands, or held them over their hearts, or clasped them and knelt in prayer. “God bless all y’all,” called out one woman in Black Mountain. The people of Billy Graham’s home state came out in force to show their love for the native son who preached the Gospel to the world.
Shane and Kristi Evatt, who live in the Charlotte area, arrived more than an hour early for the processional through uptown Charlotte and said they hoped publicity from the event, both in the news media and social media, would advance the Gospel.
“As everything [in society] has gotten more confusing, he stuck to such a clear message,” Shane said. “We just recognize what a powerful preacher of the Gospel he was through his simplicity. We felt we owed it to him and his family to let them know how big an impact he made.”