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'America's Pastor' Billy Graham Honored At Nation's Capitol

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WASHINGTON, D.C -

The Rev. Billy Graham will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday, the first time a private citizen has been accorded such recognition since civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

President Trump delivered remarks at the memorial service on Capitol Hill for the man known as "America's pastor. Graham died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina last week.

He was 99.

Graham was a counselor and confidante to nearly every American president since Harry Truman, but Graham himself denied he had a role in making policy. He said, "I don't advise them, I pray with them."

President Donald Trump spoke to honor Graham during the D.C. ceremony. The president said that everywhere he went, Graham taught the same "beautiful" message -- "God loves you."

Trump, calling Graham's testimony through his life "endless," said it was "fitting" to remember him in the Capitol's rotunda, surrounding by paintings of men of faith.

2/21/2018 Related Story: Billy Graham's Impact Continues At Oral Roberts University

"The testimony is endless," Mr. Trump said. "Today we give thanks for this extraordinary life. And it's very fitting that we do so right here in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the memory of the American people is enshrined. Here in this room we remember America is a nation sustained by prayer."

The president called Graham an "ambassador for Christ." Only a few private citizens have been honored like Graham in the rotunda, Mr. Trump said.

"Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America."

The president departed the rotunda at 11:38 a.m., followed by the first lady. Congressional leaders and Cabinet members slowly filed out, too.

As they left, administration officials including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and others paid their respects. Energy Secretary Rick Perry saluted Graham's casket.

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