“Watched by millions around the world, the memorial struck a tone more spiritual than spectacular Tuesday, opening with a church choir serenading his golden casket and continuing with somber speeches and gospel-infused musical performances.
The Rev. Lucious W. Smith of the Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena gave the greeting on the same stage where Jackson had been rehearsing for a concert series in the days before his June 25 death at age 50.
Emotions rose when Sharpton delivered a fiery eulogy highlighting all the barriers Jackson broke and the troubles he faced. “Every time he got knocked down, he got back up,” Sharpton said, and the applauding crowd jumped to its feet.
Sharpton rode the moment, building to a crescendo. “There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy,” he said later, addressing Jackson’s three children in the front row. “It was strange what your daddy had to deal with!” After he left the stage, chants of “Mi-chael! Mi-chael!” filled the arena.
The ceremony wrapped up with group performances of “We Are the World” and “Heal the World” sung by Lionel Richie, Hudson and Jackson family members — including his children — before a backdrop of symbols of religions from around the world.
“I’m trying to hold in my emotions,” said Hernandez, wearing a wristband to allow her admittance to the service and holding a framed photograph of Jackson. “I know right now he’s teaching the angels to dance.”
More than 1.6 million people registered for the lottery for free tickets to Jackson’s memorial. A total of 8,750 were chosen to receive two tickets each.
“There are certain people in our popular culture that just capture people’s imaginations. And in death, they become even larger,” President Barack Obama told CBS while in Moscow.”
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I was HIGHLY affected by the deaths of Princess Di and Mother Teresa
I remember not wanting to eat or do anything really that day except watch the news all weekend…
shortly thereafter, I returned to my home-town and to church. I never left God, but I certainly did my own thing for almost 10 years.
This last weekend at SLFC, Tony Cameneti shared that he heard through a reliable source that Jackson received Christ 3 days before his death. I look forward to seeing him in Heaven!