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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A statue of the late Billy Graham set to stand inside the U.S. Capitol to represent North Carolina will be unveiled this week in a ceremony.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, other congressional members and the family of the Charlotte-born evangelist are expected to attend the unveiling of the 7-foot-tall bronze statue on Thursday, May 16, in the National Statuary Hall, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said in a news release.

The North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation in 2015 asking a congressional committee to eventually approve a likeness of Graham for display in the hall. Rules say a person’s statue can only be installed posthumously. Graham, who lived most of his adult life in Montreat, N.C., died in 2018 at age 99.

“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, in a news release. “At the same time, he would not want the attention on himself but on God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Each state gets two statues. The Graham statue will replace one of early 20th-century Gov. Charles Aycock, who, while known as an education advocate, has fallen from favor because of his ties to the white supremacy movement at the time.

The Graham sculpture, created by Charlotte-based artist Chas Fagan, depicts Graham gesturing toward an open Bible in his hand, the association said. The statue was bronzed in Seagrove. The base, created from Rowan County granite, is inscribed with two Bible verses that highlight Graham’s evangelistic ministry.

The other North Carolina statue commissioned for the National Statuary Hall is a likeness of Civil War-era Gov. Zebulon Vance, who was also a Confederate military officer and U.S. senator.

Graham was the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, preaching in person to more than 210 million people worldwide.

From The Associated Press. May not be republished.

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