Tens of thousands gathered to pay their respects to former US President Ronald Reagan today, while many more around the world have shared their testimonies of his great works and accomplishments during his eight years of presidency. In a statement released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Evangelist Billy Graham spoke not of Reagan’s successes as a president, but rather, he spoke of Reagan’s successes as a man of integrity, as a loving husband, and as a close friend.
“Mr. Reagan had a religious faith deeper than most people knew,” said Graham after the passing of former President Ronald Reagan. While many statements throughout the world have ranged from Reagan’s firm stand against abortion to his contribution to ending the Cold War, in speaking of his close personal friend, Graham did not state any of the aforementioned, but spoke of Reagan on a more personal level.
“The President was a man of tremendous integrity, based on his religious belief. I visited him and Nancy on numerous occasions in recent years and always had prayer with them. Though [he] was unable to communicate at times, Nancy would say, ‘When you prayed, I think he knew you were here,’” Graham said.
Graham said that he and his wife Ruth had spent a number of nights at the White House and had hundreds of hours of conversation with the Reagans. In commenting on the relationship between the former US president and former First Lady, Graham stated, “The love between Ronald and Nancy Reagan was an example to the nation. No man ever had a more loyal and loving wife and no children had a more loving faithful mother than Nancy.”
As Graham was undergoing rehabilitation following a recent procedure to stabilize a pelvic fracture, Graham said that one of the highlights of his time in the hospital was to have his wife, Ruth go to see him every day. “To hold hand with her, and to look into her eyes after our 60 years of marriage, has been the best medicine I could have. Ours is a long and wonderful love story, like that of our friends Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
“Today I would ask all those who have been praying for me, and for whose prayers I am so very grateful, to lift up our nation, our late president, and his wife in her time of mourning.”
Graham was recently released from Mission Hospitals in North Carolina where he had spent part of the weekend viewing commentary of the death of his longtime friend. Graham expressed that he would like to have been with the family during that time; however, he was unable to travel due to his hospitalization.
Graham is currently continuing intensive physical therapy at home in North Carolina where he will be preparing for his upcoming evangelistic crusades in Kansas City and Pasadena later this year in the Fall.