Banner gives local Billy Graham admirers a chance to put their sadness into words

Admirers continued to express their love for the late Rev. Billy Graham on Friday by writing their thoughts on a banner. News 13 had it made to give viewers a chance to sign off on a memento that will eventually be given to the Graham Library in Charlotte. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Admirers continued to express their love for the late Rev. Billy Graham on Friday by writing their thoughts on a banner. News 13 had it made to give viewers a chance to sign off on a memento that will eventually be given to the Graham Library in Charlotte.

"What am I going to write, babe?" Christi Teriele asked her husband. "Probably what I wrote on Facebook."

When the banner was unrolled in Black Mountain, it gave generations a chance to show their reverence for Graham, who died Wednesday at his home in Montreat.

"I wrote on Facebook what an awesome homecoming he must be having," Teriele said, repeating those words with a Sharpie.

Years ago, Norma's grandpa did rock work for the Grahams. So, she, too, was compelled to write.

"My grandfather said, 'I can't shake your hand, I have cement on my hands,'" she said, repeating a story she's heard. "(Graham) said, 'That don't matter. Give me that hand!'"

That simple story said a lot about Graham.

Katherine Bailey Sneed also grabbed a pen, saying Graham meant a lot to her and her late husband.

"We have listened to his crusades through the years and always enjoyed, and it touched your heart," she said. "Made you want to be a better person. "

The banner was later moved to Cherry Street, where many others found the act of writing their thoughts to be uplifting.

"Our world is without one of the greatest men of God we've ever known," a woman said.

Eventually, the tribute was taken to the the Historic Courthouse in Hendersonville, providing a chance for a mother to tell her daughter how inspirational the late evangelist was. It was also a chance for county manager Steve Wyatt to reflect on America's pastor.

"I feel like he is more of a hero than anything for all he has done in the country," Kennan Heatherly said. "I think he has an impact on everybody, not just Christians."

The mourning process is bittersweet, but the banner gave folks an outlet to put the Graham legacy into words.

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