NewsFront RangeDenver


Marilyn Hickey, Focus on the Family VP, remembers Billy Graham

Tim Goeglein: He was a man of faithful humility
Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 22:39:57-05

DENVER -- Tributes are pouring in from around the world for Billy Graham, a man who was known by some as "America's Pastor."

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in North Carolina. He was 99-years old and had been suffering from cancer.

1987 Rocky Mountain Crusade

The co-founder of Marilyn Hickey Ministries told Denver7 she remembers when Graham hosted the Rocky Mountain Crusade at Mile High Stadium.

It was 1987. The Ira-Contra Hearings were underway in Washington.

"Some of you have been watching the hearings," Graham told the assembled crowd. "I'm not going to tell you what I think of them."

The well known televangelist said he felt like asking Congressional Committee members some questions, then said, "I'm not going to get into that. That's as far into politics as I'm going to go."

"He was very energetic" Marilyn Hickey said. "Very friendly and alive."

Hickey and her husband took their adopted son to the crusade.

"He was six," she said, "We'd gotten him at 3½ and I remember we wanted him to be in that meeting and to hear Billy Graham, because we thought 'this is a unique opportunity.'"

"No man spoke about Jesus more than Billy Graham"

Tim Goeglein, VP of External and Government Relations at Focus on the Family, said Graham often exhibited faithful humility.

Goeglein was a special assistant to President George W. Bush during 9/11.

He was tasked with asking Graham to give the sermon during a special prayer service and remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

"I took a deep breath," he said. 

Goeglein said the Bush Administration wanted a memorial service that would help Americans who had watched the terrorist attacks unfold on TV.

"It was the Pearl Harbor of our generation," he said.

Goeglein said staff members thought Graham would decline, because he was already 82-years-old and "not in the best health."

But the well-respected televangelist accepted the request.

"There was drama"

Goeglein said,"There was drama," because they didn't know how they were going to get Graham to Washington, D.C. since the airspace had been closed.

"The Secretary of Transportation was directed to open up a special air lane for that flight from North Carolina to Reagan Airport," he said.

Goeglein said that was the first time he met Graham.

"I was really overwhelmed," he said. "I felt that at that moment, I was not only in the presence of one of my heroes, but one of the greatest men in American history."

He added, "No man, in the history of this planet, has ever personally spoken about Jesus Christ more than Billy Graham."

9/11 Sermon

Rev. Graham opened the sermon by saying that September 11 will go down in history as a day to remember.

"Today we say to those who masterminded this criminal plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this nation will not be defeated by their twisted and diabolical schemes," Graham said.

He told those in attendance at the Cathedral, including all the living presidents, first ladies, congressional leaders and diplomatic corps, "I've been asked hundreds of times in my life, why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer, totally."

"It was the most dramatic part of a great sermon," Goeglein said. "He knew the nation was heartbroken.  He knew that terrorists had come to our shore, but he did not set himself up as the 'answer man.'"

Goeglein told Denver7 that Graham had mentioned several times that he "was going to die one day, and on that day please remind people that I will be more alive than ever."

He said Graham was referring to the Gospel "in its purest form," that Christians believe in birth, death and rebirth.