LU co-founder reflects on 60-year relationship with Billy Graham

Liberty University co-founder Dr. Towns reflects on his relationship with Rev. Billy Graham, who passed away at the age of 99 (WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Rev. Billy Graham is getting a rare tribute from the nation's top political leaders under the Capitol Rotunda.

President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at a service on Wednesday to remember "America's pastor," who died a week earlier at age 99.

Graham is lying in honor beneath the iconic dome Wednesday, before a funeral Friday near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He is only the fourth private person to lie in honor since 1998. The others are two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998 and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

And Graham has a further connection to Lynchburg.

Liberty University co-founder Doctor Elmer Towns said he will never forget the way he saw God in Graham's work.

"It's wasn't his preaching," Dr. Towns said. "It was the anointing of God upon him."

Dr. Towns has known Graham for more than 60 years and served on his foreign mission committee; he began teaching in the Billy Graham School of Evangelism in the 80's and worked on the foreign mission committee in the 90's.

Through all of it, faith is what Dr. Towns will always remember of Graham.

"He had faith to believe he could fill an auditorium," Dr. Towns said. "He had faith to believe that he could get one million people to come to Yeouido Island, it's on the Han River in Seoul, South Korea."

Dr. Towns said he believes someone will rise and feel the power to serve, continuing the mission Graham took to millions around the world.

"I believe in Billy Graham," he said. "I believe in the principal of revival and I believe there will be another Billy Graham."

Dr. Towns will have one final chance to say goodbye to Billy Graham at his private funeral on Friday in North Carolina.

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