Los Angeles 1963

On a field that for 40 years had seen football and baseball, the Olympic Games, rodeos, track meets, ski jumping and all manner of public celebrations, thousands stood quietly to pray for forgiveness and commit their lives to Jesus Christ.

From Aug. 15 through Sept. 8, 1963, crowds flocked to the storied Los Angeles Coliseum to hear Billy Graham proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. More than 900,000 attended the Crusade, with more than 36,000 recording decisions for Jesus Christ.

The Crusade is one of 62 events included in the stadium’s Memorial Court of Honor, which commemorates people or events that have had a great impact on the history of the coliseum. A plaque notes that on the final day of the Crusade, “citizens from every walk of life occupied every seat and spilled onto the playing field grass to establish a record turnstile attendance for a single event in the coliseum of 134,254. An additional 20,000 were estimated to have listened on loudspeakers in Exposition Park.”

Decision reported in November 1963 that one of those who responded to the invitation was “a big-time professional gambler.” After putting his faith in Christ at the Crusade, he joined a church, began the process of buying a new business to support his family and, taking his pastor with him, returned to the gambling houses to tell people how Christ had changed his life.

“I was as phony as a three-dollar bill; now I feel clean in here,” he said, putting his hand to his heart.

Photo: Russ Busby/©1963 BGEA