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McConnell Celebrates Billy Graham's 95th Birthday


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding celebrating Billy Graham's 95th birthday:

"I want to start out this morning by saying a few words about a man who's earned the respect and admiration of countless Americans for his energy, courage, and faithfulness to a calling that he first received about 75 years ago on a late-night walk around the Temple Terrace Golf Course in Tampa. The son of a North Carolina dairy farmer, Billy Graham turns 95 today. And I just want to join all the others across the country and around world in thanking this good and humble servant for his decades of ministry and tireless preaching of the Gospel that he loves.

"In a career that spans generations, Billy Graham has walked the halls of power and counseled presidents and kings. But he has never forgotten his mission in life. And while he may not be able to preach at the giant rallies that made him a household name, he is still finding new ways to share his faith with a world in need of healing, hope, and purpose. Tonight, at the age of 95, Billy Graham will preach what's been called his final message to America.

"Growing up, Billy Graham wanted to be a baseball player. Thankfully, God had different plans. And ever since that night in Tampa, he's put his extraordinary natural talents and generosity of spirit at the service of others.

"Billy Graham's first crusade took place in the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in September 1947. In the decades to come, more than 400 crusades would follow in more than 185 countries and territories on six continents. At one memorable crusade in South Korea, more than one million people showed up to hear the powerful preaching and the hopeful message of the Reverend Billy Graham.

"Billy Graham may be the only preacher with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But he never let that celebrity get to his head. I'm sure he'd say that his beloved Ruth helped keep him focused. And it's a credit to both of them that all five of the Graham children are carrying on the family legacy today.

"As Billy Graham has receded from public life in recent years, we've missed the steady, reassuring presence that he lent to moments like the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11. But we've been consoled to know that he's still there on his mountain retreat in Montreat, North Carolina. Billy Graham once said that "God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.' So today, I join countless others in sending our own message of thanks to a man who's been called "America's pastor', and to say how grateful we are for the life and witness of the Reverend Billy Graham."

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