Statue of Rev. Billy Graham Unveiled at Capitol as Members of Congress, Family Pay Tribute

Evan Poellinger | May 16, 2024

Members of Congress and the Graham family offered their reflections on the life and legacy of “one of America’s greatest citizens and enduring heroes,” the late Reverend William ‘Billy’ Graham Jr. as his statue was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall on Thursday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA) observed that Graham was one of only four citizens who had both received the Congressional Gold Medal and lain in honor on the Capitol Rotunda, the other three being Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks.

Johnson noted that, like the oldest statue in the hall, John Winthrop, who envisioned America as a “shining city upon a hill,” Graham “shared that same vision, who believed that same gospel, a man who looked back at where we were, and who prayed and served endlessly for what we could become again, that shining city upon a hill.”

Graham’s son, William Franklin Graham III, remarked “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, he’d want the focus to be on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me,” Graham added. “My father believed it, he 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.”

Rev. Billy Graham

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) paid special attention in his remarks to the potential for unity that could be found in Graham’s work and message.

Cooper recalled how, as a child, he heard Graham preach at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, calling him a man who “brought together people of different faiths and different races” and a person who “realized that he and all of us here have feet of clay”:

“We are imperfect; we have been found wanting. But he believed, as many of us do, that there is redemption. And he gave his life to delivering that message.”

Cooper concluded by explaining that Graham’s work had been “to share counsel and guidance, to seek grace, peace, and live a life of faith, service, and humility, is needed now more than ever.”

As Sen. Ted Budd (R, NC) observed, Graham took his message of faith to “more than 185 countries, and to more than two million people in person.” Now, Billy Graham’s bronze likeness will continue to carry his message to scores of visitors to our Capitol each year.