Billy Graham on the Mountain
There’s nothing that commands more respect than a general on a battlefield or Billy Graham on a mountaintop. For generations, people have gathered at Grandfather Mountain for the much-anticipated, soul cleansing annual “Singing on the Mountain,” which Reverend Graham led one year. The event continues to be wildly popular as it combines gospel songs and old time preaching that are favorites of the highland folks. The year that I photographed Billy Graham, nearly a half-century ago, traffic backed up for miles. It was reported that more than 100,000 people filled the meadow to hear him.
Millions grew up mid-twentieth century watching him on their small black-and-white televisions while he delivered some of the first revivals that were broadcast on television. Thousands walked the aisle answering his call to “Come to Jesus.” The touch of his hand was memorable. His voice and message have become part of the Southern fabric as well as a national movement to leading good lives while serving their higher power.
I am confident that Rev. Graham is pleased to know that the owner of Grandfather Mountain and my friend, the late Hugh Morton, donated his beloved mountain and its panoramic view, which he fought long and hard to preserve, to the state of North Carolina. Standing on its pinnacle is a special feeling of not only being on top of the world but also closer to Heaven.
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