Billy Graham statue to be unveiled in U.S. Capitol

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A statue of the late Rev. Billy Graham representing the state of North Carolina will be unveiled in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, May 16.

The statue’s unveiling will take place during a private dedication ceremony in the National Statuary Hall, according to a news release from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Members of the Graham family, along with House Speaker Mike Johnson, other congressional representatives and the North Carolina Statuary Hall Committee will be present for this event. There will also be special music from three-time Grammy-winner Michael W. Smith.

The sculpture, created by Charlotte-based artist Chas Fagan, depicts Graham gesturing toward an open Bible in his hand. The 7-foot bronze statue stands on a pedestal engraved with verses from the Bible that highlight Graham’s lifelong commitment to sharing the gospel.

“This is a great honor and my father would be humbled and grateful,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. “At the same time, he would not want the attention on himself but on God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Billy Graham, who died at age 99 in 2018, spent more than 80 years preaching to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history – nearly 215 million people across six continents. Obedient to God’s call on his life, Billy Graham was faithful in providing spiritual counsel to 12 sitting presidents and dozens of world leaders, reaching out to the needy, comforting the nation in tragedies, and doing the work of an evangelist around the globe.

“The legacy of Rev. Billy Graham is based on his simple message of forgiveness based on John 3:16. His lifelong commitment to preaching the gospel, his fight for civil rights, his opposition to communism, and his spiritual guidance provided hope to hundreds of millions,” said Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) who was part of the bipartisan effort to place the statue in the Capitol. “He was the first private citizen from North Carolina to lie in honor in the United States Capitol and his likeness should stand in the U.S. Capitol forever.”

Graham was named North Carolina’s “Favorite Son” by a unanimous vote of the state General Assembly in 2013. This set the stage for then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to sign House Bill 540 into law in 2015, which decreed that a statue of Graham would be commissioned to represent the state in the U.S. Capitol. The House Bill calling for the statue said, “There have been many great North Carolinians, but few have impacted the world more than Billy Graham.”

The statue of Graham was created in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, at Chas Fagan Fine Art. It was cast in bronze at Carolina Bronze Sculpture, a foundry in Seagrove, N.C., and the statue base is Salisbury granite from a quarry in Rowan County. The base is inscribed with two Bible verses – John 3:16 and John 14:6 – and also features a plaque similar to Graham’s grave marker on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library: “Preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The National Statuary Hall is located along the perimeter of the Rotunda and in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Each state has two statues representing important historical figures from their state on display in the Hall, Crypt, or subsequent Capitol Visitor Center. With only 100 statues on display at any given time, the addition of a sculpture for the National Statuary Hall statue is a rare and unique opportunity.

Graham holds the distinction of being one of the only private citizens to receive three of the highest honors from Congress – the Congressional Gold Medal, to have laid in honor at the U.S. Capitol and to have a statue commissioned for the Statuary Hall.

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