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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

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Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:36 PM

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Final Hymn At Billy Graham's Funeral Same One Sang At Dedication Of Librarryh

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) 1:20 p.m.- The final hymn of the Billy Graham funeral had special meaning for the evangelist, his friends and loved ones.

The audience sang "To God Be the Glory," which was also the closing hymn at the 2007 dedication of his library in Charlotte.

Graham's late music director Cliff Barrows, who helped Graham plan the funeral service starting a decade ago, has said it was his favorite hymn.

After the hymn, Graham's casket was led out of the tent while a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace."

Another of Graham's favorite hymns, "Because He Lives" was performed by the Gaither Vocal Band during the service. It has been featured on Billy Graham musical compilations

Gospel singers Michael W. Smith and Linda McCrary-Fisher also performed. The three performers are veterans of Graham's crusades and events, and were friends of his.

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1:10 p.m.

The Rev. Billy Graham's son Franklin has delivered the main funeral message at his father's funeral service, saying that the famous evangelist was the same at home as he appeared to millions around the world.

He said that, "the Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadium was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home."

He added: "There weren't two Billy Grahams."

He also said his father believed in Heaven and has now gone on the journey that he'd been "looking forward to all of his life."

Franklin Graham now leads his father's evangelistic association and the relief agency Samaritan's Purse. He spoke from a podium used by his father for crusades in the 1990s.

His main address followed shorter messages from his four siblings and his aunt.

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12:45 p.m.

The Rev. Billy Graham's adult children have been giving personal messages at his funeral.

Four of his children spoke near the beginning of the service under a big tent at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Anne Graham Lotz said that she believes God is sending a message by bringing Graham to Heaven.

Lotz said: "I believe God is saying: 'Wake up church! Wake up world!'"

She and three of her siblings spoke before her brother Franklin, who is scheduled to give the main funeral message.

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12:20 p.m.

The funeral for The Rev. Billy Graham is featuring a song that harkens back to the revivals that helped launch his ministry seven decades ago.

Gospel singer Linda McCrary-Fisher started the service with the song "Until Then."

The song was written in 1958 by Stuart Hamblen, a cowboy singer who credited Billy Graham for his religious conversion. It was also recorded by Graham's late associate and close friend George Beverly Shea.

Hamblen also performed at the 1949 Los Angeles tent revival that helped launch Graham's career and became known as the "Canvas Cathedral."

The tent holding 2,000 or so mourners on Friday was inspired by the tent Graham used for the Los Angeles.

After the song, David Bruce, Graham's longtime executive assistant, formally welcomed attendees to the service on the grounds of Graham's library in Charlotte.

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12:05 p.m.

The Rev. Billy Graham's casket has been brought into a tent filled with mourners to start his funeral service.

Graham's grandchildren served as pallbearers.

The pine casket lined with a mattress pad was made by prisoners at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Graham's son Franklin was moved by seeing inmates build similar ones for other prisoners who couldn't afford caskets.

Graham's wife was buried in one of them in 2007.