Billy Graham remembered with songs, heartfelt messages at funeral

Angola master coffin maker Richard Liggett puts the final touches on a handmade casket for the Reverend Billy Graham

Following his death at the age of 99, Graham became the fourth private citizen in U.S. history to lie in repose in the United States Capitol building, where President Trump paid tribute to him as "an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God's grace".

Trump and Pence do not often appear together outside the White House, and their decision to jointly honor the most influential American evangelical leader is partly a marker of the importance of evangelical political support for both men.

His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of the Reverend Billy Graham, and he offers heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. Edward graduated from West Point and served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was once injured by shrapnel from an IED.

The funeral guest list featured well-known evangelicals as well as more than 100 global religious delegates.

Graham's sister Jean Ford, 85, eulogized her brother shortly after a private meeting with the Trumps and Pences at the Billy Graham Library, where Graham will be buried.

Pence's selection as his running mate is credited with helping solidify evangelical support for Trump, a self-proclaimed Christian who had not expressed strong religious views.

While Franklin Graham steered clear of politics during his message, the Trumps and Pences were the first guests he welcomed as he began.

Graham met or prayed with every president from Harry Truman forward. But that fleeting moment was a sign that the son has the ear of a president, and the kind of access to power that the elder Graham came to regret.

Graham's headstone will carry his name, dates of birth and death and the inscription "Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ" above the Bible reference "John 14:6". Former presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter also said they weren't able to attend.

After a life of traveling the world to spread the gospel, he said the Billy Graham he knew finally made the trip he's waited on for a lifetime.

The ceremony will take place at the Billy Graham Library on the family's property in Charlotte, under a broad white tent that harkens back to the "canvas cathedral" in 1949 that helped propel Graham to prominence.

"I was privileged to have him as a personal friend", Bush wrote. Mr. Trump denies he's ever done so, and Graham has been quoted saying Mr. Trump has changed since then. "I couldn't have given up alcohol on my own".

Graham was a lifelong registered Democrat, and although Franklin Graham said his father had voted in the 2016 presidential election, he declined to say for whom. "That strength came from love I had felt from my earliest days and from faith I didn't fully discover until my later years". Musicians who had shared Graham's stage would sing.

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