Billy Graham’s September 11th Story
September 10, 2021
Categories: Billy Graham
Many people remember where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001.
Billy Graham was at his home in North Carolina. His personal assistant, Maury Scobee, had just come from the McDonald’s drive-thru. After taking several bites of his breakfast, he heard the terrible news on the radio that sent shock waves around the world. A plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. With a sense of urgency, he quickly rushed up the mountain to the Graham’s home. Ruth was still sleeping and Billy was tying his shoelaces and was about to walk in the kitchen for breakfast. Maury briefed him on what had happened. He got Mr. Graham situated, turned on the television, and made a pot of coffee. Then, suddenly, a second plane slammed into the twin towers. Mrs. Graham was now just getting up, and Mr. Graham shared the news with her.
Mr. Graham was glued to the television for the rest of that day – making phone calls, and conferring with various folks/family members gaining insight each hour into the tragedy. At several points throughout the day, he gathered with his wife and staff that happened to be in the home at the time for prayer.
That day, Mr. Graham also released this statement:
“Within the last few hours the United States has suffered the most terrible and devastating terrorist attack in its history. Although we do not yet know the full story, these unspeakable acts of brutality strike at the very heart of our free society….Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy go out to all who have been directly touched by this tragedy, and their families. I call upon all Americans to pray especially for our President and for all who advise him, that they may have divine wisdom as they respond to this insane and horrific act.
In times like this we realize how weak and inadequate we are, and our greatest need is to turn in repentance and faith to the God of all mercy and the Father of all comfort. If ever there was a time for us to turn to God and to pray as a nation, it is now, that this evil will spread no further. It is also a time for us to remember the words of the Psalmist: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still and know that I am God…The Lord of hosts is with us.’ (Psalm 46:1-2, 9-11)”
Several days later, on September 14, 2001, Mr. Graham was summoned to our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. to deliver a message of comfort to a country shocked and shaken. Mr. Graham traveled on a private plane that was granted permission to fly at a time when there was a mandate for national air traffic to cease. Special arrangements were made through the White House and national security approvals for the plane to land at Dulles in Washington, D.C.
Dr. David Bruce, Billy Graham’s Executive Assistant, shared what the drive to Washington National Cathedral was like. “As he drove into the city, Mr. Graham could see flames and smoke still smoldering at the Pentagon, and armed soldiers at each intersection in Washington – a moment in which there were strong tensions and concern about the possibility of other attacks.”
With the grave intensity of what the world faced, Mr. Graham knew this was an opportunity God could use him to provide words of hope and healing to millions struggling.
“We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be. The Bible says that He is ‘the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.’
No matter how hard we try, words simply cannot express the horror, the shock and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September 11 will go down in our history as a Day to Remember.”
To read Billy Graham’s entire message from Washington National Cathedral: billygraham.org/911