Billy Graham has spent most of his life in North Carolina.
He grew up in Charlotte and shortly after college moved back to Montreat, N.C., where he has lived since 1945.But the son of a N.C. dairy farmer received recognition on Wednesday largely for how God used him around the world, preaching in more than 185 countries and territories.
By a unanimous vote from both the House and the Senate, Mr. Graham was honored as “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” by the General Assembly, the first resolution of its kind. The state legislation also honored the memory of Mr. Graham’s late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, for the “partnership with her husband in marriage and ministry.”
Lines 46-48 of the resolution reads: “Whereas, Billy Graham, having served our State and country as a faithful and fearless soldier of the cross, having carried the Gospel of Christ for more than 70 years throughout the world, is proud to call himself a Tar Heel and to make North Carolina his home…”
Two of Mr. Graham’s children — Franklin Graham, the CEO and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Anne Graham Lotz — were in attendance.
Many in the General Assembly shared personal stories of how Mr. Graham influenced either their own lives or a close family member.
Earlier last month, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory visited Mr. Graham at his home in Montreat and presented him with a proclamation, naming him “The Favorite Son of North Carolina.”
McCrory, who had served as Charlotte mayor for 14 years, talked about the impact of his 1996 Charlotte Crusade and was also involved in bringing the BGEA headquarters and the Billy Graham Library to Charlotte — both located on Billy Graham Parkway.