In 2015, then North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed in to law House Bill 540, which decreed that a statue of evangelist Billy Graham would be commissioned to represent the state in the U.S. Capitol. Today, as plans move forward with the project, those impacted by Graham’s timeless Gospel message are invited to be part of honoring his legacy through the Statuary Hall Fund on what would have been Graham’s 101st birthday.
The House Bill calling for the statue said, “There have been many great North Carolinians, but few have impacted the world more than Billy Graham.” Graham, who preached the Gospel to more than 215 million people over his more than 70-year ministry and counseled countless world leaders, was named North Carolina’s Favorite Son in 2013.
“The U.S. Capitol holds a special significance in my father’s ministry – he shared the Gospel there and it’s where he was given the distinction to Lie in Honor,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “Our hope is that adding his likeness to Statuary Hall will continue to bring awareness to my father’s life work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and allow the message he preached to be shared with those who visit for many years to come.”
The North Carolina Statuary Hall Committee officially met in December 2018 at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to start the process of installing the statue of Rev. Graham. In June of this year it was announced that local artist, Chas Fagan – known internationally for his painting and sculptures of many admired figures – was chosen as the sculptor.
“It’s such an honor to represent an iconic American figure like Billy Graham,” Fagan said. “I’m happy I can help capture and preserve the life of Billy Graham and what he stood for in this way—and to do that at the historic center of America.”
The National Statuary Hall is located along the perimeter of the Rotunda and in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Each state is permitted to have two statues representing important historical figures from their state on display in the Hall, Crypt, or subsequent Capitol Visitor Center. Following Graham’s death in 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper formally requested the replacement of one of the existing statues that represent North Carolina with the statue of Billy Graham.
With only 100 statues on display at any given time, the addition of a sculpture for the National Statuary Hall statue is a rare and unique opportunity. Those who would like to contribute to the Statuary Hall Fund can visit http://billygraham.org/statue to make their gift.