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Billy Graham statue being planned for US Capitol

WASHINGTON -- North Carolina leaders are taking steps to have a statue of Rev. Billy Graham placed inside the Capitol, according to The News & Observer.

In 2015, Lawmakers passed legislation calling for a statue of Graham to replace that of former North Carolina governor Charles Aycock, who was a segregationist and white supremacist.

Each state gets to place two statues inside the Capitol. North Carolina’s second statue is of Zebulon B. Vance, who was a Confederate officer, two-time governor and U.S. senator.

On Wednesday, Cooper took the next step in the process.

“I ask the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve the State of North Carolina’s request to replace the statue of Governor Charles B. Aycock in the Statuary Hall Section, and to provide a new statue of the late Reverend William Franklin “Billy” Graham, Jr.,” Cooper wrote in the letter.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest also joined the initiative on Tuesday, sending a letter to the Architect of the Capitol.

“As Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and President of the North Carolina Senate, I write to encourage you to approve North Carolina’s request to replace Governor Aycock’s statue with one of Rev. Graham,” Forest said.

Next, the Joint Committee on Library Action will have to accept or deny the request.

Click here to read the required entire process

Graham, known to many as America’s pastor, passed away just before 8 a.m. on Feb. 21 from natural causes at his family home in Montreat just outside Asheville.

Graham's casket laid in repose in the Rotunda at the US Capitol on Wednesday. He was only the fourth private citizen to lie in honor, following civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005 and two slain Capitol Police officers in 1998.

"Billy Graham carried his message around the world, but his heart -- as Franklin will tell you -- was always in America," Trump said during the ceremony on Capitol Hill. "He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the broken-hearted, to inmates in prison and to the overlooked and neglected. He felt a great passion to those that were neglected," Trump said. "God loves you -- that was his message -- God loves you."

His funeral will be held back on the library grounds in Charlotte on Friday. The event is by invitation only, and more than 2,000 people, including President Donald Trump, are expected to attend.

The minister will be buried next to his wife, Ruth, on the property. His coffin, a plain, pine casket, was built by inmates at the Louisiana state prison.