Feb 28 2018

VIDEO: Blunt Pays Tribute to the Grace-Filled Life of the Late Rev. Billy Graham

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) took to the Senate floor to honor the life of “America’s Preacher,” Reverend Billy Graham.

Following are excerpts from Blunt’s remarks:

“[S]ome of my colleagues are going to follow, as we honor the life and legacy of Billy Graham, sometimes called America's preacher, sometimes called America's pastor, but he went to heaven last week, and what a 99 years he had while he was here. He lies in honor today…in the Rotunda of the Capitol. Only three private citizens, prior to today, have been granted that honor. …

“Somebody observed this morning while we were in the Rotunda of the Capitol, that he's there surrounded by friends that he made during his life, President Eisenhower, President Ford, President Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King, all are memorialized with statues and a bust in the Capitol and so Billy Graham, sort of right at home today with people he made friends with during his life, gave advice to during his life, but never really seen as uniquely his ministry. His ministry were people everywhere. …

“I might mention that President Truman, I stand right here behind one of the desks he used when he was a senator, a senator from Missouri, he was the first president that Billy Graham met with in 1950. And President Truman, like lots of us Midwesterners, a little closely held with his faith, when Billy Graham at the end of their meeting said, ‘could we pray?’ I think it was President Truman who said, ‘well I guess it wouldn't hurt anything.’ And that was the first opportunity that Billy Graham had to pray with the many presidents that he prayed with and I’m sure prayed for after that. …

“In our state, 1953, he led his first crusade in Missouri in St. Louis. He returned in 1973 for another St. Louis crusade and to celebrate his 55th birthday. The Post-Dispatch reports that the revival’s opening night had 20,000 people and 4,000 people were in the choir most of the nights that that St. Louis effort occurred. He made several trips to Kansas City. In 1967 the Heart of America crusade in Kansas City drew 364,000 people and the then-Mayor of Kansas City, Ilus Davis, made Reverend Graham an honorary citizen and gave him a key to the city. He returned to Kansas and Missouri many times during that work. [In] 1959 he came to my hometown, Springfield, Missouri, and I was pleased to read just recently that he said it reminded him, the Ozarks reminded him, of his native North Carolina. …

“We could spend a lot of time arguing about lots of things, but a grace-filled life, a life built on the fundamental principles of the Gospel, is a life that we have benefitted from, we recognize uniquely today, and I’m glad to be here with my colleagues on the floor as we talk about this great life and the impact it had.”