Reverend Billy Graham, who passed away yesterday at the age of 99, will receive a rare recognition for a civilian: his body will lie in honor in the United States Capitol for two days. This will be the first time a private citizen has been given this honor since civil rights hero Rosa Parks passed away in 2005.
Graham, affectionately known as “America’s Pastor,” passed away at his North Carolina home on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, pneumonia, and other ailments. His body will lie in honor at the Capitol from February 28 though March 2, after which he will be laid to rest at the worldwide headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Graham will be buried next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007, in a plywood coffin made by the prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. The prisoners have been making coffins for years for indigent prisoners — a simple design with a wooden cross on the top — this choice reflects Graham’s long-standing support of prison ministries.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced the plans to honor Graham on Twitter earlier today on his Twitter account. When Graham’s body arrives, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will take part in a bicameral service, and the Capitol will remain open so the public can pay their respects.
So members of the public can pay their respects, the late Rev. Billy Graham will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from Feb. 28 to March 1. For more information: https://t.co/LMnKWnnnkg
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) February 22, 2018
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