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Billy Graham

By Chaplain (Capt.) Meade Adams 2nd Bomb Wing Chapel


He has been called America’s pastor. Whether or not you consider yourself a person of faith, the cultural impact that Billy Graham made during his life is undeniable. He was a spiritual advisor for every president from Eisenhower to Bush. He was good friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. and took strong stands against segregation at his campaigns in the 50’s and 60’s. I think there are a couple of takeaways from Graham’s life and career for all of us regardless of religious affiliation. 

First, Graham’s legacy reminds us that we must all plug into our purpose. Graham had a very clear sense of purpose—what he was supposed to be doing. When we have a strong and clear sense of purpose in our lives it provides us with an innate quality of resilience, joy and fulfillment. Perhaps the job or particular AFSC you’re in now is not what you would classify as “your purpose” but who said it has to be a job? It can be a volunteer opportunity, a hobby, some kind of service or outreach, or maybe it’s as simple as being there for your family. Whatever it is, find your purpose and plug into it.

Second, Graham’s life and legacy reminds us that loving people and treating others the way we want to be treated are principles that can never go wrong. Graham was strongly criticized at times for not taking political sides or speaking out on certain issues. His focus was on all humanity regardless of political affiliation, or other things that separate us. If we adopt a mindset of treating people with respect and dignity and even going as far as love, I believe we will find ourselves in a better and happier state of mind.

Graham was not perfect and like all of us he had his faults. But his dedication to his purpose and his commitment to love people and treat them with dignity and respect can provide an example for all of us. We salute his life and his legacy.