WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald Trump and Congress are taking official action to honor the passing of Rev. Billy Graham last Wednesday, through a presidential proclamation and the announcement that Graham’s body will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol—only the fourth private citizen in American history to receive such honors.
After Graham passed on February 21 at the age of 99, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation that begins:
As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his internment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff.
This proclamation covers not only the White House, but also all public buildings nationwide, all U.S. military installations, and at all U.S. embassies around the world.
On Friday, President Trump eulogized Graham at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on the border of D.C. “We will never forget the historic crowds, that voice, the energy, and the profound faith of a preacher named Billy Graham,” the president declared.
“As a young man, Billy decided to devote his life to God,” President Trump continued. “That choice not only changed his life, it changed our country. And indeed, it even changed the world.”
Congress is likewise demonstrating its collective admiration of Graham by deciding that his body should lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol this Wednesday.
While Congress has allowed former U.S. presidents or leading members of Congress to lie in state, only three private citizens have ever been privileged to lie in honor in the Capitol. Two were U.S. Capitol police officers who died in the line of duty protecting congressmen and civilians inside the Capitol in 1998. The other one was the iconic civil-rights pioneer Rosa Parks in 2005.
Graham spent his entire adult life as an Evangelical Christian preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ: the simple message that God so loved the world that he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross in the place of sinners, so that anyone who repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus would be forgiven by God and restored to a relationship with him.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.