Billy Graham becomes first religious leader to lie in honor insi - FOX Carolina 21

Billy Graham becomes first religious leader to lie in honor inside US Capitol Rotunda

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Rev. Billy Graham on his 95th birthday (file/FOX Carolina) Rev. Billy Graham on his 95th birthday (file/FOX Carolina)
WASHINGTON (FOX Carolina) -

Reverend Billy Graham will become the fourth ever private citizen and first ever religious leader to lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday.

Graham’s body will arrive at the Capitol around 10:30 a.m. A private welcoming ceremony will be held at 11 a.m.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will attend the welcoming ceremony, per the White House.

The Capitol Rotunda will then open for public viewing between 1 and 8 p.m.

 Billy Graham to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Graham is the first religious leader to be offered this distinction. His body will arrive at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 10:30 a.m. ET, and a private ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. 

From 1 to 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the public will be welcome to honor Billy Graham in the Capitol Rotunda.

Only three previous private citizens have lain in honor at the Capitol: Civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005, and Capitol police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, who were killed in the line of duty in 1998.

In keeping with tradition, Graham’s casket will also be guarded a Capitol Police officer during the event.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said a statue of Graham will soon be erected in the US Capitol to replace the current statue of former NC Gov. Charles Aycock in Statuary Hall.

Franklin Graham said many have called his father the “Pastor to Presidents” since the evangelist has known every US president since President Truman and has maintained friendships with many of them.

“Throughout life, it has been a privilege to see the warm relationships he had with so many leaders and how God used him in their lives,” Franklin Graham posted on Facebook Tuesday.

Billy Graham’s body will be returned to North Carolina on Friday for a private funeral and burial next to his wife Ruth at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.

President Trump is also expected to attend the funeral on Friday and has ordered that US flags be flown at half staff on March 2 in Graham's honor.

The North Carolina DOT advised the Billy Graham Parkway would be partially closed Friday due to the funeral events. Click here to see closure and detour information.

MORE - REMEMBERING REV. BILLY GRAHAM

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