© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Guests, Dignitaries Gather For Billy Graham's Funeral

More than 2,000 people attended Billy Graham's funeral service this afternoon at the Billy Graham Library including President Trump and Vice President Pence.

Jean Ford, Graham's sister, said she looks forward to meeting her brother in heaven.

"On February the 21st, heaven came down and took my brother from me," Ford said. "One day, heaven will come down and take me, and I know what he would want me to say today - is heaven is coming again, and would like to take you also."

Graham, who died at the age of 99 at his home near Asheville, will be buried next to his wife Ruth who died in 2007.

Former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory was among the attendees. 

"Individually, he reminded me that you need to be humble, you need to care and love for other people, and it’s not about you," McCrory said. "It’s about something greater than all of us. And his actions were even louder than his words. And, you know, there’s no doubt Billy Graham was the most influential person to ever come from our state."

Pope Francis also reacted to Graham's death earlier today. In a statement, he offered his condolences to the Graham family. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was also invited to attend today's funeral.

"I am so honored that his family would have invited Catholic representation," Dolan said. "Billy was a bridge-builder, and listen – back in the 19 – late 40s and early 50s, to have welcomed Catholics, to embrace them, that wasn’t always – kind of – blessed. He did it well."

Also in attendance, television host Kathie Lee Gifford and preacher Joel Osteen.

The funeral will disrupt traffic today. Billy Graham Parkway is closed in both directions between South Tryon and Tyvola and will not re-open until after the funeral. 

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.