NC congressman appointed to committee, plans to place statue of Rev. Graham in U.S. Capitol

NC congressman appointed to committee, plans to place statue of Rev. Graham in U.S. Capitol

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A North Carolina congressman has been appointed to a committee that plans to place a statue of Charlotte-born evangelist Reverend William Franklin "Billy" Graham Jr. in the U.S. Capitol.

A spokesperson with the office of Robert Pittenger announced on Wednesday that the congressman will serve on the Statuary Hall Selection Committee to set up the statue to honor "America's Pastor."

"Dr. Billy Graham was tremendously humble, so he would likely suggest that we honor someone else," Pittenger said. "However, I can think of no American who did more to positively impact lives and communities around the world.  We will not honor Dr. Graham because he was famous.  We will honor Dr. Graham because of his worldwide impact and faithfulness to the mission God gave to him."

Congressman Pittenger will serve on the committee alongside David Bruce, Clarence Henderson and Honorable Dan Soucek. North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore is expected to appoint three more members, officials said.

Senator Berger released this statement:

"Billy Graham's faith and ministry inspired not just countless North Carolinians, but millions around the globe, and I can think of no better representative for our state in Statuary Hall. Each of these members has a deep, personal appreciation of Rev. Graham's contributions to our state, and I thank them for their willingness to help realize this tribute to one of North Carolina's favorite sons."

The 99-year-old evangelist was laid to rest after a private funeral service at the Billy Graham Library on March 2. Rev. Graham died at his home at 7:46 a.m. in Montreat on Feb. 21.  According to his doctor, Rev. Graham "just wore out," passing peacefully in his sleep. No one was with him except a nurse.

WATCH THE FULL SERVICE: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

"On February twenty-first, heaven came down," Graham's sister, Jean Ford, said. "They took my brother from me."

Billy Graham preached about heaven, wrote a book about heaven and is now "in heaven," Franklin Graham, said. "His journey is complete."

Franklin Graham said his father once told him: Someday you'll read that Billy Graham has died. Don't you believe it for a second. I'll be more alive than ever. I've just changed addresses, that's all.

The funeral was held under a huge white tent set up in the parking lot in front of the Billy Graham Library.

The tent serves as a reminder of how Mr. Graham's ministry launched under "The Canvas Cathedral"—a white canvas tent during a 1949 Crusade in downtown Los Angeles, where 350,000 people heard him share the Gospel over a period of eight weeks.

"It was Mr. Graham's explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years," said Mark DeMoss, spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Graham lied in honor in Washington, where he counseled presidents and others over more than 60 years.

President Donald Trump and members of Congress honored Graham during a ceremony on the arrival of Graham's casket at the U.S. Capitol.

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"Billy Graham carried his message around the world, but his heart, like Franklin will tell you, was always in America," Trump said. The president said that Graham shared his message of faith with everyone who he met.

"We can only imagine the lives touched by Billy Graham," Trump continued, describing him as "an ambassador for Christ, who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God's grace."

"Everywhere he went he gave the same beautiful message. " "God loves you - that was his message. God loves you," Trump said.

The Rotunda entrances were draped with black fabric, and Graham's casket rested on a black-draped catafalque beneath the soaring ceiling and its painting, the "Apotheosis of Washington."

Inmates at one of the country's most well-known prisons had a hand in laying Reverend Billy Graham to rest. At his request, Angola inmates built his casket back in 2006, according to WAFB. Rev. Graham's son said the casket was made by convicted murderers.

A bible was also placed in his casket.

The inmates also constructed the casket of Rev. Graham's wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. Rev. Graham was buried beside his beloved wife, whose grave is at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Library's Prayer Garden.

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