The hearse carrying Billy Graham to the U.S. Capitol did not fly an American flag, it flew a flag far more appropriate for the honor of its journey.
As the black hearse rolled to the front of the U.S. Capitol for Graham to lie in honor, two early 20th century Christian flags could be seen flying from its hood. The Christian flag represents the power and tenets of Christendom. The red Latin cross symbolizes the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross. The blue represents baptismal waters and the rebirth of one’s soul. The white represents the purity of Jesus.
The design of the flag dates back to the late 1800s.
According to Christian Today, the red white and blue are not accidents and have their roots in the American story as well.
The Christian flag dates back to an impromptu speech given by Charles C. Overton, a Sunday school superintendent in New York, on September 26, 1897. The guest speaker for the Sunday school kick-off didn’t show up, so Overton had to wing it. Spying an American flag near the podium, he started talking about flags and their symbolism. Along the way he proposed that Christians should have their own flag—an idea that stayed on his mind long after the speech. In 1907 Overton teamed up with Ralph Diffendorfer, secretary to the Methodist Young People’s Missionary Movement, to produce and promote the flag.
The colors on the flag, not surprisingly, match those on the American flag. White represents purity and peace, blue indicates fidelity, and red stands for Christ’s blood sacrifice.
The flag certainly appropriate for the honored occasion. Graham is only the fourth U.S. citizen to be given the honor of lying in the US Capitol and the only one who was a religious leader.