During his remarks at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, President Donald Trump revealed that his father took him to a Billy Graham crusade in Yankee Stadium in the 1950s, saying it was “very special.”
The president observed during the 1940s and 50s, Graham led the United States in a nationwide rival from “a large tent in Los Angeles, to 100,000 people in a single day at Yankee Stadium, to more than 2 million people at Madison Square Garden, over 16 weeks in 1957.”
“And I remember that, because my father said to me, ‘Come on, son’ — and, by the way, he said, ‘Come on, mom. Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.’ And it was something very special,” Trump recounted.
“But Americans came in droves to hear that great young preacher,” he continued. “Fred Trump was a big fan. Fred Trump was my father.”
The future president would have been about 11 years old in the summer of 1957 when Graham was holding his New York City crusade.
According to the Billy Graham Library, the event began in May and approximately 2.4 million people attended the meetings over a 16 week period, with over 61,000 making public decisions for Jesus Christ.
During the course of his lifetime, approximately 215 million people heard Graham preach the salvation message in person in over 185 countries, with millions more reached through television, films and webcasts.
In 1949, the evangelist was invited to speak at the Los Angeles Crusade tent meeting, which was initially scheduled for three weeks, but ended up running for two months due to the large crowds that came to hear Graham preach.
Media mogul William Randolph Hearst was so impressed with the young Gospel preacher he directed his papers to “puff Graham,” which made him a nationwide celebrity, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Graham held the last of his trademark crusades in New York City in 2005, which followed one the previous year in Los Angeles, wrapping up a 60-year career that included over 400 such events worldwide.
America’s Pastor’s influence was so profound and lasting, he still made the top five in Gallup’s most influential men in December, marking his 61st appearance in the survey.
In his remarks from the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, Trump said, “Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message: God loves you. That was his message. God loves you.”
The president concluded stating, “(T)oday we say a prayer for our country, that all across this land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God.”
Graham is the fourth person in the nation’s history to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
CBN News Capitol Hill reporter Abigail Robertson, who was on hand for Wednesday’s ceremony, told The Western Journal, “It is beautiful to see lawmakers put politics aside for a day to honor America’s Pastor, the late Reverend Billy Graham.”
Robertson, who is the granddaughter of televangelist Pat Robertson, added, “The Holy Spirit’s presence is filling the halls of the Capitol today, and I know Billy Graham is looking from Heaven, humbled as always, to see the nation celebrating his life and legacy.”
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