WASHINGTON – It was a historic moment on Capitol Hill when lawmakers put politics aside for a day to honor America's pastor, Rev. Billy Graham.
Graham is the fourth US citizen to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, and the first faith leader. It is a rare honor only bestowed on three other people, including two Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty and civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
"Everywhere he went Rev. Graham delivered the same beautiful message: God loves you," President Donald Trump told congressmen at a memorial service inside the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday.
Rev. Graham preached the Gospel to millions of people throughout his lifetime, including a young Donald Trump.
"My father said to me, come on son," continued Trump. "Let's go see Billy Graham at Yankee stadium, and it was something very special."
The idea to bring his body to Washington first came from Graham's North Carolina congressman, Patrick McHenry, who suggested it to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI.
"With the significant contribution Rev. Graham made over his lifetime to American presidents, to politicians of both parties, to world leaders, I thought it was only fitting and right that we pay that last honor," said McHenry.
Ryan told CBN News it was an easy decision to make.
"We got together and decided this is obviously something we should do," said Ryan. "Between Mitch (McConnell), the president, myself, and Patrick McHenry we made that decision very quickly."
Rev. Graham's family joined the president and lawmakers for a memorial service after the casket arrived in Washington. Speaker Ryan said if there was ever an American worthy of this honor, it's Rev. Graham.
"In those moments when we felt weak in spirit, when our country was on its knees, he reminded us, he convinced us, that is exactly when we find our grace and strength," said Ryan.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, described Graham as a remarkably humble man who just wanted to share the Good News with as many souls as he possibly could.
"Billy Graham lifted up our nation, not because he occupied the spotlight so masterfully, but because he knew he wasn't the one who belonged in it," said McConnell.
Following the memorial service, Franklin Graham and other members of the family greeted many of those who waited in long lines to say farewell to the famed evangelist.
"I think this speaks a lot, for this long line, and the people that are traveling a long ways to Charlotte and to here just to walk by to pay respects to this man who changed the world. He literally changed the world," declared Dawn Stewart, who attended many of Rev .Graham's crusades.
Rodney Vickers, a longtime Billy Graham fan, agreed.
"He never wanted attention for himself, always pointing people to the Lord, just a pattern of integrity, and goodness to follow after, especially if you wanted to go into the ministry, just a great man," Vickers told CBN News.
Rev. Graham's body now heads back to North Carolina for Friday's funeral, which President Trump and the first lady are expected to attend.