Billy Graham statue to be unveiled today in US Capitol Statuary Hall

By Carolina Luciano Burgos |
Billy Graham

The globally recognized evangelist Billy Graham will be honored with a statue raised at the US Capitol Statuary Hall today, May 16. Representing the state of North Carolina, the seven-foot bronze statue will accentuate Billy Graham’s lifelong commitment to the gospel and his obedience to Christ.

He served as an evangelist around the world for more than 80 years. Over the course of his ministry, he preached to nearly 215 million people in six continents. He provided spiritual counsel to 12 sitting U.S. presidents and dozens of world leaders. He contributed to several humanitarian efforts comforting nations, all while staying obedient to God's calling in his life. Under his leadership, the global Church came together in greater unity to spread the gospel and serve the poor and oppressed.

Puerto Rican former professor of theology at Harvard University and founder of the Centro de Reflexión Teologíca de Puerto Rico (Center for Theological Reflection of Puerto Rico) Dr. Samuel Solivan said that two of the greatest contributions made by Billy Graham were “his personal integrity, [as well as] his modeling a personal testimony and ministry of a non-Pentecostal, non-tongue speaking Christian full of the Holy Spirit. His person and ministry serve as a biblical example of inclusion and diversity in unity which honored Christ's prayer that we would be one.”

He recalls how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) translated various evangelistic materials into Spanish that churches could use in their own evangelistic and discipleship efforts. The BGEA also promoted the inclusion of Hispanic pastoral participation in stadium events.

Bishop of the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Movimiento Internacional Región de Puerto Rico (Pentecostal Church of God International Movement Region of Puerto Rico) Hernán Rivera Rivera recalls using the movies offered by the BGEA for his evangelism events.  “At the beginning of my pastoral ministry, I used many of the films of [Billy Graham’s] ministry to present them in parks, fields, communities, schools and evangelize.”

“The greatest thing is that his influence was not only during his lifetime but even after his death, he continues to have relevance,” he added.

The unveiling of his statue will be held in a private ceremony at the National Statuary Hall. House Speaker Mike Johnson, the North Carolina Statuary Hall Committee, and several Graham family members will be present at this ceremony. The accompanying music will be led by three-time Grammy-winner Michael W. Smith.

Son of Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse Franklin Graham said his father would be humbled and grateful to receive such a great honor.  “At the same time, he would not want the attention on himself but on God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,” he added.

“The legacy of Billy Graham is based on his simple message of forgiveness based on John 3:16,” said Senator Ted Budd, who was part of the bipartisan effort to place the Billy Graham statue in the Capitol. “His lifelong commitment to preaching the gospel, his fight for civil rights, his opposition to communism, and his spiritual guidance provided hope to hundreds of millions ... his likeness should stand in the US Capitol forever.”

In 2023, North Carolina’s General Assembly unanimously appointed the late evangelist as the state’s “Favorite Son.” This allowed then-Governor Pat McCrory to sign House Bill 540 into law in 2015 which decreed that, “a statue of Graham would be commissioned to represent the state in the US Capitol.” The House Bill states that, “There have been many great North Carolinians, but few have impacted the world more than Billy Graham.”

The National Statuary Hall allows only 100 statues at a time; with each state being represented by two statues of important historical figures; the addition of the Billy Graham sculpture is considered a “rare and unique opportunity.” With this, Graham holds three of the highest honors from the US Congress: the Congressional Gold Medal, lying in honor at the US Capitol, and now a statue in the Statuary Hall.

The statue of Rev. Graham was sculpted in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina at Chas Fagan Fine Art. The statue’s base is engraved with two Bible verses that shaped Graham’s ministry around the world –John 3:16 and John 14:6. His statue also holds a plaque similar to the one on his grave marker that says, “Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In 2018, Billy Graham passed away at 99 years old. His latest honor reflects his lifelong service. However, as Graham himself once said, “I look forward to the day when I can see Jesus face-to-face and lay at his feet any honor I've received, because he deserves it all."