Transcript for Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99
This is an ABC news special were. George Stephanopoulos. Good morning for those you just joining us we have breaking news the evangelist Billy Graham has died at the age of 99. Preach of one of the most important spiritual figures of our time he spoke to more than 200 million people during his life. Known as a friend to presidents he met with every American presidents starting with Harry Truman all the way to Barack Obama. He was a key figure in reviving the American evangelical movement the first Christian. To preach publicly behind the iron curtain and Communist countries after World War II major huge crowds from Budapest to Beijing. Dan Harris takes a look back and Graham a man who brought inspiration and comfort to so many. There are thousands that you've that god has been speaking suitor for more than half a century Billy Graham brought the word of god about a 1000800 Rittenmeyer who had already been god why isn't going to come back then sped up his kingdom. His influence reached every corner of the globe and all the way to the White House. A long way from the North Carolina dairy farm where he grew up during the Great Depression. Graham found his calling at age sixteen when a traveling preacher came to town. I went back ignited after tonight and moon night out began to realize. That there was an emptiness in my life. They're quite soon he was feeling revival tents and expanding into radio and television. His message was for everyone regardless of race years before it was the law he insisted that his audiences not be segregated. I don't know what your religious background or racial background. Pop cultural background that make no good. Graham first went to the White House in 1954 an audience with president Truman it did not go well. But he hit it off with president Eisenhower and came to be known as the unofficial White House Chaplin. He befriended and vouched for JFK. Helping him overcome anti Catholic prejudice. He's stuck wood Johnson through Vietnam and Nixon through Watergate. And offered his prayers and counsel to every commander in chief through the rest of the twentieth century and into the 21. Presidents need. Comfort. Good faith hips. And Billy Graham who wound great dispenser of comfort for me for Barbara and her family. And he just. Talk to me. Never asked me. Never emissions inventory way. It was. Amazing. President George W. Bush even credited grant with helping hand to quit drinking and turn his life around. God loves you. All the while Graham continued to preach with crusades across America. And around the world. Unlike fellow evangelist Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Graham steered clear of divisive issues sages abortion and the culture hours going through preferring have a hospital that would unite. We need to trust in god. And we need to put enough faith in him as a nation. There were however moments of controversy he was caught on a Nixon White House tape talking about Jews having a quote stranglehold. On the media. A comment he later said he deeply regret it. Even at the height of his famed. Graham lived a simple life in North Carolina we've Ruth his wife of 64 years who died in 2007. There Bredesen didn't know world to millions of transformation. Of human nature of the America small and stunning grades. At the time of his final crusade in 2005. He told ABC news he looked forward to that day he would meet god in have it. It's a little more or would you choose movies. How can small form never dream of our vision. Pritchard told people in different countries and former Marshall or why would you choose me because probably about war was chosen. To Billy Graham only one opinion matters but I want to hear one. Person. So it's something nice about him that's for more. On the face him I want him to say to me well done. Good and they answer. Billy Graham a towering figure in America he said one of the most when the major evangelical figures of the last century his influence game. Stretch for so long want to bring in Dan Harris who do just did that peace and then. Remind everybody I mean of course say Billy Graham's inflows last for so long but he was such a towering figure. In the middle of the last century. A character here is not only in politics but in American culture you know you really. What evangelical of them on the map in many ways and is crude stayed. Were watched. I attended these days by hundreds of thousands of people watched by millions more on and Portland and the relatively no new technology a live television he. But again it would politics where to eat. Had been repeated. Influenza being. You know known as the pastor to presidents stand and speaking with them at their darkest hours often and and almost all ways. Wheaton those conversations were covered until we don't even know. What kind of support you and giving. Yen in net nonpartisan in his approach be friendly Republican and democratic president's. Oh like and as you pointed out in your piece his message was always. To unify. His son Franklin Graham still active as a preacher also in politics taken a somewhat different path. Yes Franklin Graham has been. Quite a bit more or polarizing. And I think we think this day we're strongly associated with what is often referred let the religious right. Or conservative Christian. I'm add him it had become embroiled in over the years. More than a few. Public controversy. It it dad really tried to stay away from that it wanted to be seen as I believe was the had largely. Above the French. An evangelist Billy Graham has died. At the age of nineteen island returned after a regular program for many view that is Good Morning America first of a complete wrap up tonight I won't listen and we didn't hear. This has been a special. For me.
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