• Billy Graham Library honors reverend on his 95th birthday

    By: Greg Suskin


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The celebration of the Rev. Billy Graham's birthday brought big crowds to the Billy Graham Library in west Charlotte.

    More than double the usual number of visitors streamed through the popular attraction all day long.  Many of them signed a large birthday banner for Graham.

    In fact, the banner was replaced four times on Thursday  as well-wishers filled it with signatures and birthday messages.

    Jeanette Henley rode over to Charlotte with members of her church for the day.

    "Today is so special. I just wanted to sign his birthday card, and let him know we love him," Henley said. "I've watched him all my life."

    Susan Thies came down from Maryland to see friends.

    She knew she wanted to come by the library to honor Graham.

    IMAGES: Scenes from the Billy Graham Library

    "Just to show my support for him and all the years of ministry he's dedicated his life to," she said.

    Robert Dixon is pastor of a Baptist church in Winston-Salem. He said Graham has always been the real deal.

    "Americans can spot a phony pretty quickly nowadays," he said. "He's been constant, consistent, genuine, and I think that resonates with people."

    Mardi Lahe also came down to Charlotte to see a friend. She said even at 95, God isn't finished with Graham.

    "Someday he'll pass on and he'll join his wife in heaven, but for now God is still using him in a mighty way," she said.

    COMPLETE COVERAGE: Billy Graham's 95th birthday party

    In one corner of the library, there was a birthday cake topped with an open Bible, created with icing.

    Visitors were welcome to take a piece of the cake and a copy of "God's Ambassador," a book about the life of Graham.

    The internationally known evangelist has given his life to spreading the message of the gospel to the world.

    That's why visitors like Andrea Hickman said his birthday gives people a chance to say "job well done."

    "That's really all this is, is people getting together and saying, thank you for all you've done," she said.

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