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Sunday, April 22, 2018
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Flags down for Rev. Billy Graham

At the close of business on Thursday, Gov. Bill Walker issued the order to lower the U.S. and Alaska flags today in honor of the late Rev. Billy Graham.

Walker’s flag order was accompanied by a spare 38-word statement in recognition of the contributions of Dr. Graham, who passed away on Feb. 21:

“Billy Graham’s faith and legacy touched millions around the world, including many here in Alaska. First Lady Donna Walker and I continue to be inspired by his work, his spiritual journey, and his devotion to his fellow man.” 

Hawkins

All governors and government properties lowered the flag on Friday per an order from the White House.

[Read what Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas wrote]

[Read what Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana wrote]

[Read what House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote]

The Rev. Graham’s life and ministries influenced generations of Americans and people across the world, and he is the first religious leader in U.S. history to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol, where his casket has been for the past two days.

Only three other civilians have been given that honor: Civil rights leader Rosa Parks in October, 2005 when Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was Senate President Pro Tem;  and two Capitol police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998.

Graham’s casket was returned to North Carolina after two days in the Capitol Rotunda.

TRUMP, GOVERNORS INVITED TO FUNERAL

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are attending the services for Rev. Graham on the grounds of Graham’s namesake library in Charlotte, N.C. Sitting governors have also been invited.

Former Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell was seen traveling to the funeral on Thursday, but Gov. Bill Walker was not expecting to attend, as he is at an event in Anchorage. The attendance is by invitation only and is capped at 2,300. Security will be tight since it’s expected that much of the nation’s leadership will be present, including Vice President Pence.

Graham’s casket, shown above in a picture shared by his son Franklin Graham, is made of simple plywood and was built by convicted murderers at Angola Prison in Louisiana.

[Read: Parnell recalls meeting with Billy Graham, Alaska legacy]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thank you to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Great state of Texas Gov Greg Abbott for your authentic and heartfelt reflections on an American icon and inspiring leader Billy Graham. I am somewhat aghast that my own Governor could only come up with 38 words to honor such a loving and honorable human being. Perhaps he was afraid of the backlash from those To Whom He Owes His Election.

  • Agreed. Thank you to President Trump for your beautiful and honest tribute to Billy Graham at the ceremony in the Capitol rotunda. I was moved that our President’s father Fred was touched by Billy Graham. Thank you to Governor Parnell for attending Billy Graham’s funeral and paying our respects to him and his faithful service.

    I am ashamed of our current governor, who, incredibly, claims to be a Christian, but he refused the Graham family’s invitation to attend Rev. Billy Graham’s funeral; he refused to lower flags until the president ordered him to do so; and he could not come up with more than 2 sentences to honor the greatest, most humble man of God who walked the earth reaching the lost with the gospel since Jesus Himself.

    Governor Walker: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26