Remembering Billy Graham and his love for the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Billy Graham's last Fresno visit came exactly one month after the attacks of 9/11.

A framed photo brought back pleasant memories for Pastor Jim Franklin.

"You see how packed it is, the number of people that came out because people were very nervous at that time," said Franklin.

Security was extremely tight for the event.

"We actually had snipers on the roofs of the press box at Bulldog Stadium," said Ordained Minister H Spees.

"That was the first crusade that he had held since 9/11 so America's attention was turned towards Fresno to hear what America's pastor was going to say," said Franklin.

Graham's message leading up to the event back then was one of inclusion.

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"And all ethnic backgrounds and all religious groups are invited and especially I'd like to invite people from the mosque," said Graham.

H. Spees says Graham brought a message of unity to the Valley.

"Latino, Asian, African-American, Anglo coming together for the spiritual and social renewal of the city, that was Billy Graham," said Spees.

The crowd appreciated his personal touch.

"I don't think there is a city or a county anywhere in the world quite like Fresno City and Fresno County," said Graham.

That night Billy Graham helped the community heal.

"To see the standard that he set for ministry, not only in personal ministry but also in outreach there's not been anybody who's done that," said Spees.
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