World Bids Farewell To Michael Jackson

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Jackson’s 11-year old daughter Paris Katherine said Michael Jackson was "best father you could ever imagine." She continued: "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," the 11-year-old girl said. "And I just wanted to say I love him so much."

[Michael Jackson’s Memorial]

The Greatest entertainer who has ever lived, Michael Jackson, was celebrated, remembered, and sent off by family and friends in a memorial service held here in Los Angeles today but viewed by an estimated more than one billion people around the world.

Some of the greatest names in music, sports and the cinema joined the Jackson family today in an event that took more than two-and one-half hours, but which at the end felt like it had ended too soon.

Michael Jackson's closed golden casket lay before the stage a few feet from where his family members sat on the front row.

Usher, Smokie Robinson, Berry Gordy, John Mayer, Brooke Shields, Stevie Wonder, Kobe Bryant, Earvin Magic Johnson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Queen Latifah, Trey Lorenz and other big names honored the Jackson family with tributes or songs.

Stevie Wonder, Usher, Richie, Carey, and Mayer provided some of the entertainment
. Others in attendance were Martin Luther King Jr. and his sister Bernice, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who did not speak.

Michael Jackson was the "best entertainer" who ever lived, Gordy, former chief of legendary MOTOWN Records, which signed the Jackson Five, declared.

More than 1.6 million people applied for tickets to attend the funeral. Jackson's brothers wore sharp dark suits, golden yellow ties and sequined gloves similar to the ones he popularized when he wore it on one hand.

Sharpton was greeted with loud cheers when he said, to Jackson's children, "There wasn't nothing strange about your daddy----It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it."

Many of the more than 20,000 who were lucky enough to get inside the Staples Center location --home of the Los Angeles Lakers-- cheered wildly when Representative Sheila Lee Jackson pushed back at critics of Jackson when she announced: "People are innocent until proven otherwise according to the Constitution of the United States."

Clearly the U.S. Representative was alluding to the vicious remarks denouncing Jackson by Rep. Peter King (Republican, New York) who posted a YouTube video accusing the entertainer with child molestation.

Rep. King has been universally criticized.

Many of the Jackson brothers decided not to speak today, except for Jermaine and Marlon; Jermaine sang one of Michael Jackson's favorite songs, "Smile."

Marlon was grief stricken but managed to recover in time to reveal how he used to sneak up on Michael even when he was wearing disguise and trying to pass off as a stranger buying Cds in a music store. "It was the shoes," that always gave Michael away, Marlon offered.

Twelve-year-old musical prodigy, Shaheen Jafargholi from the U.K., who was a star on the "Britain's Got Talent" show sang "Whose Loving You," a Smokie Robinson song popularized  by Michael Jackson; Shaheen had been selected by Jackson to appear on some of the London concerts he was to have held.

Perhaps the most touching moment was at the end when Michael's daughter Paris made brief tearful remarks at the end of the celebration.

The 11-year old paised her father, before breaking into tears and being led away: "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," the 11-year-old girl said. "And I just wanted to say I love him so much."

Marlon Jackson made an observation that must have echoed with Michael's fans all over the world: "Maybe everyone will leave him alone now."

The memorial service closed with several of the entertainers who were to have been Jackson's backup for his concerts joining family members and other guests to sing "We Are the World."

Television screens beamed images of people swaying in rhythm to the song from other U.S. cities and from around the world.

Perhaps the world will never again see an entertainer with Jackson's talent and global hold.

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