Throwback: When the Arkansas Legislature Welcomed Billy Graham to Little Rock

Above: A photo from the cover of the September 7, 1989, issue of the Arkansas Baptist.

In September of 1989 the Rev. Billy Graham held a weeklong evangelistic crusade at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reportedly scheduled the crusade after receiving more than 30,000 letters and petition signatures from Arkansans requesting that he come to Little Rock.

Each night featured special guests from ranging from country music singer Johnny Cash to Arkansas Razorback football coach Ken Hatfield to Elvis Presley’s stepbrother Rick Stanley.

In the September 7, 1989, issue of the Arkansas Baptist news magazine, hotels advertised special rates for travelers coming to town for the crusade, and restaurants and businesses across Arkansas made it a point to welcome Billy Graham.

Ahead of his arrival, all 35 members of the Arkansas Senate co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 9 (S.C.R. 9) “Welcoming Dr. Billy Graham, World Renowned Evangelist, to the State of Arkansas.”

The resolution celebrates Billy Graham as “a world renowned evangelist whose crusades have led untold millions throughout the world to the Christian life,” and it “wishes for a most successful Crusade” in Little Rock.

Then-Governor Bill Clinton likewise wrote a letter welcoming Billy Graham to Arkansas and offering the evangelist, “Best wishes for much continued success and for God’s richest blessings.”

Of course, the crusade was a huge success. Over the course of seven nights, the 70 year old evangelist preached to Arkansans about the priceless value of the human soul, the danger of drugs, and the pressures families faced as the twentieth century drew to a close. Billy Graham wrestled with heavy issues like incest, the breakdown of the family, and violence against women. And like nobody else, he always brought the message back to Christ’s death and resurrection. Countless lives were touched that week.

Nearly 33 years later, it’s incredible to look back and see how Arkansans came together to welcome and celebrate the greatest evangelist of our time.

You can read S.C.R. 9 welcoming Rev. Billy Graham to Arkansas here.

Read President Eisenhower’s 1954 Veterans Day Proclamation

Today marks Veterans Day, a day when we remember those who have served our nation and defended freedom.

In celebration of this day, we would like to share President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Veterans Day proclamation issued in 1954.





WHEREAS it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and

WHEREAS in the intervening years the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation; and

WHEREAS the Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1928 (44 Stat. 1962), calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies, and later provided in an act approved May 13, 1938 (52 Stat. 351), that the eleventh of November should be a legal holiday and should be known as Armistice Day; and

WHEREAS in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day.  On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.  I also direct the appropriate officials of the Government to arrange for the display of the flag of the United States on all public buildings on Veterans Day.

In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.  Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance.  I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this eighth day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-ninth.


By the President:


Secretary of State.