Statement by Evangelist Billy Graham
On the Death of Senator Jesse Helms

Montreat, N.C., July 4, 2008

“Jesse Helms, my friend and long-time senator from my home state of North Carolina, was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.

In the tradition of Presidents Jefferson, Adams and Monroe — who also passed on July 4th — it is fitting that such a patriot who fought for free markets and free people would die on Independence Day. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, I thank God for the blessings we enjoy, which Senator Helms worked so hard to preserve.

Over three decades in the United States Congress, Senator Helms was a loyal and effective leader on behalf of our State, with whom I connected during times of national crisis. He was the first person to call me when President Reagan was shot, even before it was reported as news.

Senator Helm’s wife, Dot; their three children; and seven grandchildren are in my thoughts and prayers as they honor his legendary life and extraordinary legacy.”

 — 30 —
Larry Ross              469.774.6362
Melany Ethridge,   214. 912.8934
to Politics and Religion Editors