Sean Taylor's Funeral
The service has begun at 11:45; it was late getting started because, we are told, the family was caught in traffic.
Pharmed Arena, which seats about 6,000 and is on the campus of Florida International University, is filled. Sean Taylor's casket is at the front of the dais, covered, of course, with flowers. A bank of palm plants is behind the speaker's podium.
In the invocation, the Rev. Dr. Alphonso Johnson asked in prayer that "You help us hold on through the night; the joy will come in the morning. We ask you to help us get through this hour."
After scripture readings and more prayers, the first group of people were from the football world and first among those was Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said [please note this is a rough transcript]:
"It's been a sad week for the NFL family. At times like this, all of us struggle to find meaning in life. The sensless loss of life is all too common in our society. Just in the NFL, we've lost four young men to violence, all tragic, all 24, just in the last year.... [Sean] loved football and football loved him back. [But] more important is what he was as a man, what he was becoming as a man. ... Honor him in the way we carry ourselves forward from this day on. Make sure we make a positive influence in our life as he did in ours."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is speaking now about gun violence, asking for "determined soldiers to fight the presence of guns and drugs in our communities....Those who live must make the stop. We're all safeties now."
This arena pulsed with life when Jackson asked those here to put their hands together for Sean. "Put your hands together like you really mean it. Let me hear it, Redskins."
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs spoke, and, of course, it was very touching and very religous. He said, "God, take care of Sean until we get Home."
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