Mourners gather to say goodbye to Rev. Billy Graham at noon

Clockwise from top right David Boraks Glenn Burkins Ann Doss Helms Kirstin Garris

Clockwise from top right David Boraks Glenn Burkins Ann Doss Helms Kirstin Garris

Trump said Wednesday that as a boy he saw Graham preach one of a series of sermons at Yankee Stadium in 1957, the closing rally of the New York Crusade.

The Rev. Billy Graham's funeral began Friday with a rousing song and heartfelt words from his adult children in the culmination of more than a week of tributes to "America's Pastor". Ronald Reagan presented Graham with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Billy Graham said later in his life that he should have steered clear of politics.

"My father would not be comfortable with all of the attention in the Rotunda today", Franklin Graham, 65, tweeted after the rare salute this week from political leaders to a religious one.

The service for Graham, who died on February 21 at age 99, comes after he lay in honor at the US Capitol in recognition of a clergyman who counseled presidents and became the first noted evangelist to take his message to the Soviet bloc during a time when its communist regimes were hostile to organized religion.

Bagpipers closed the funeral service with a rendition of "Amazing Grace" as Graham's casket was moved away. Franklin Graham did not formally endorse Trump during the 2016 election, but he has supported most of his policies.

The service, scheduled to start at noon Friday, is to include performances by musicians who shared the stage with Graham at his crusades. They share much the same audience of white evangelicals who form the core of the president's base of support. Graham said that he and his siblings all came to know God through their evangelist father's eyes.

Still, loved ones said Graham saw himself as a humble preacher who would have been embarrassed by such fanfare. He's accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct, and he was heard on an "Access Hollywood" recording from 2005 boasting of grabbing women.

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"God's work within me began in earnest with Billy's outreach", Bush wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published two days after Graham's death.

Franklin Graham now leads his father's evangelistic association and the relief agency Samaritan's Purse. He does, though, give money to Graham's and other charities.

For now, more than a year into Mr. Trump's presidency, the two remain aligned. The Rev. Franklin Graham will deliver the main funeral address for his father after personal messages from Billy Graham's three daughters and younger son.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will attend the funeral and will be escorted by Graham's grandson, a Major in the United States Army.

"And I believe God is saying, 'Wake up church". The preacher said in a statement that he backed a closer examination of refugees' views on "freedom and liberty" and that Islamic law was incompatible with the Constitution.

Graham became the de facto White House chaplain to several US presidents, most famously Richard Nixon.

"If Franklin, in his theological universe, understands Trump to have confessed and asked for forgiveness, then there's no problem", said Anne Blue Wills, a religion professor at Davidson College near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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