Billy Graham Statue Unveiled at U.S. Capitol, Inviting People to the Gospel

A 7-foot bronze statue of Billy Graham was officially installed on Thursday at National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The base of the statue is inscribed with two verses: John 14:6 and John 3:16.

For House Speaker Mike Johnson, Thursday’s ceremony was more than just unveiling another bronze statue at the U.S. Capitol.

It was far bigger than the 7-foot statue of Billy Graham pointing to the open Word of God. This statue will be installed in the crypt—one level below the Rotunda where every public tour of the U.S. Capitol begins.

“Millions of people will walk by and read John 14:6 and John 3:16,” Johnson said. “What a story to tell as we bring school kids through and university students and constituents, they’ll stop right here. And at the base of the foundation those two verses will be shared broadly.

“I think it’s the perfect placement.”

Those who knew the humble evangelist would freely admit that he would be the last to want a statue of his likeness anywhere.

“My father would be a little uncomfortable with this being here,” said Franklin Graham, who read John 3:16, one of the two verses inscribed on the statue’s base. “Because he would want the focus to be on the One whom he preached—the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

The dedication ceremony largely centered on the message of the Gospel and the eternal impact of Billy Graham’s ministry.

“Let us never forget the Bible that he preached, the souls that were saved, and the lives that were transformed,” U.S. Senator Ted Budd said. “More people have heard the Good News of Jesus from Billy Graham than any man in our history.”

“He believed, as many of us do, that there is redemption,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, “And he gave his life delivering that message.”

“He united Americans, lifted them up,” U.S. Senator Thom Tillis said. “He understood how God’s Word could change hearts.”

“His life’s work,” said U.S. congresswoman Virginia Foxx, her voice cracking with emotion, “was dedicated to the millions of people around the world who found Jesus Christ as their Savior through his preaching.”

Michael W. Smith sings “I Surrender All,” at Thursday’s dedication ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Musician Michael W. Smith honored his longtime friend with a version of “I Surrender All.”

“Maybe Billy would want this to be the theme song for today—and the days ahead,” he said.

Speaker Johnson called Thursday “a truly historic moment” as Mr. Graham joined Rosa Parks, President Ford, and President Reagan as the only people to receive the three highest honors from Congress: The Congressional Gold Medal (1996), to have lain in honor or state in the Capitol (2018), and have a statue placed in Statuary Hall (2024).

Johnson finished the ceremony by reading from one of Mr. Graham’s study Bibles, the very passage that the statue’s bronze Bible is open to.

“In his left hand he holds an open Bible. And with right hand, he’s inviting all those to read. It’s open to Galatians 6:14,” Johnson said as he described the statue. Then he turned to the copy of God’s Word used by Mr. Graham:

“The page is well-marked. The verse is underlined in red: ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’”

The Billy Graham statue is a 7-foot bronze sculpture by North Carolina artist Chas Fagan.

How the Statue Happened

David Bruce, longtime executive assistant for Billy Graham and vice president of the Billy Graham Library and Archive and Research Center, gave the closing prayer to Thursday’s ceremony. But on the night before the dedication, he outlined some of the key steps in the statue becoming reality.

2013: North Carolina’s legislature voted Billy Graham as the state’s Favorite Son.

2015: Then-Gov. McCrory signed a law (HB 540) that the favorite son should have a statue in Statuary Hall. It said that at Mr. Graham’s death, they would begin the process to replace one of the statues.

2018: After Mr. Graham’s homegoing on Feb. 21, 2018, Gov. Cooper sent a letter of intent to Congress and a commission was formed that began to think about how the statue would reflect Mr. Graham’s life.

2018: A national search began for a sculptor, but it was a North Carolina artist, Chas Fagan, who was selected. Fagan had sculpted Ronald Reagan’s statue, which also appears in Statuary Hall.

After recounting the process, Bruce called attention to some rather unique features.

“It’s something unlike anything else in Congress,” he said. “It has not only a cross, but it has, on both sides of the pedestal, Scriptures, written out. On one side, John 3:16 and the other side, John 14:6.

“Think about that today,” he remarked. “Those Scriptures will remain in those Congressional halls, with Mr. Graham preaching from an open Bible” for generations to come.

With this Biblical witness in the very heart of the Capitol, Bruce was visibly excited about what God might do as millions of visitors stream past it year after year. “I think there’s still hope for this country!”

Watch Replay: Billy Graham Statue Unveiled at U.S. Capitol

John 14:6 is engraved on the base of the Billy Graham statue.
John 14:6 is engraved on the base of the Billy Graham statue.