It’s been a week of national mourning as the nation joined the community last weekend in memory of 17 people killed by a teenage gunman on February 14th at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Among the dead were: Alyssa Alhadeff (14), Geography teacher Scott Beigel (35) (who died while usering children to a classroom when the shooting began), Martin Duque Anguiano (14), Nicholas Dworet (17), Assistant football coach Aaron Feis (37) (who threw himself in front of students to protect them from oncoming bullets), Jaime Guttenber (14), Athletic director Chris Hixon (49), Luke Hoyer (15), Cara Loughran (14), Gina Montalto (14), Joaquin Oliver (17), Alaina Petty (14), Meadow Pollack (18), Helena Ramsay (17), Alex Schachter (14), Carmen Schentrup (16), and Peter Wang (15).
Kittanning Borough responded to the tragedy by lowering its flag at its Municipal Building. Yesterday, Council authorized the flag to be lowered again at the announcement of the passing of Billy Graham.
Graham, 99, was a Christian evangelist that preached before crowds of thousands in nations around the world.
He spread his spiritual influence in mass media. His televised crusades from massive coliseums boasted celebrities such as Johnny Cash and others with whom he would share the stage. Although Southern Baptist, he spoke for no specific denomination.
In political circles, Graham was known as the “pastor to the presidents” beginning with Harry S. Truman. He was a confidant of Nixon and waded through the mire of Watergate. He attended prayer breakfasts with Johnson, and was a frequent guest of Reagan. George H. Bush invited him to stay at the White House the night before the bombing of Iraq. He offered up prayers at the inauguration of Clinton. George W. Bush said it was Graham’s influence that led him to quit drinking. Unable to travel, Obama traveled to his North Carolina log cabin to visit him in 2010.