Feb 9, 2013 No Comments ›› littlebytes
Excerpt from Chicago Tribune:
Despite the heavy security because of the attendance of first lady Michelle Obama and other dignitaries, Hadiya’s funeral at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church only occasionally touched on politics and the gun violence that ended Hadiya’s life, instead focusing on a 15-year-old girl whose smile lit up the room.
Her mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, briefly spoke to the standing room only crowd, often with a smile and even a laugh.
“My baby did all this,’’ she said, wearing a big red flower on her chest and a sparkly scarf, and clearly enjoying the music. “This is all Hadiya.’’
[Her godfather, Damon Stewart told the crowd:]
“This should break the hearts of everyone who has someone they love.”
He said he read a Facebook post that said: “I’m not going to buy into the hype. What makes this girl so much better than the others?”
“She is important because all those other people who died are important,” Stewart said. “She is important because all of the families who were silent, she speaks for them. She is a representative of the people across the nation who have lost their lives.”
“Don’t let this turn into a political thing. Keep it personal,” he said. “A lot of politicians will try to wield it as a sword. They want to use it for votes.”While family and friends kept the focus on the 15-year-old girl who was shot dead in a South Side park, the first lady’s appearance inevitably brought attention to anti-gun efforts nationwide.
The back of the funeral program has a copy of a handwritten note from President Barack Obama: “Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya’s passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God Bless.”
In addition to Michelle Obama, dignitaries in the crowd included Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Barack Obama.
Prior to the service, the first lady met privately with about 30 of Hadiya’s friends and classmates, and then with members of Hadiya’s family, according to a White House official.
Father Michael Pfleger spoke and called Hadiya an “innocent victim of gun violence,’’ asking, “When did we lose our soul?”
He told the crowd that “we must become like Jesus’’ and become “the interrupters’’ of genocide, an evil that is killing our children.
“Welcome home, sweet Hadiya. See you on the other side,” he said.
The funeral procession arrived at about 9:45 a.m., including three limousines and dozens of cars.
The first lady’s motorcade pulled into the church parking lot at about 10:15 a.m. She went in through a separate side entrance at the rear of the church, stepping directly from a vehicle into the building.
The family filed down the aisle a little after 10 a.m. and viewed the body in the still open casket. The pastor led the procession down the aisle chanting “the Lord is my shepherd” as soft organ music played in the background.
Ushers walked down the aisle handing out tissues, and those without wristbands were asked to give up their seats so that family members could be seated in the sanctuary. Every seat was filled by 9:45 a.m.
Purple, Hadiya’s favorite color, is represented in many of the flowers in the church and the lining of her casket. Ushers handed out a glossy funeral program booklet printed on purple paper. The front cover says “Celebrating The Life Of … Hadiya Zaymara Pendleton.” Inside are more than 50 photos of Hadiya throughout her life.
Her obituary printed in the booklet describes her work in the church and even her favorite foods: Chinese, cheeseburgers, ice cream and Fig Newtons. It includes tributes from her grandmother, her cousin and an aunt as well as close friends.
About 10:15 a.m., the funeral director came back out and announced to the hundreds still waiting in line that no one else would be allowed inside — not for the viewing or the funeral.
Michelle Obama’s attendance puts Chicago solidly in the middle of a national debate over gun violence that has polarized Congress and forced President Obama to take his gun control initiatives on the road to garner more public support.
The first lady’s visit is being seen not only as a gesture of condolence to the family but as part of an effort to draw attention and support for the president’s gun initiatives.
But the visit also meant scores of security, police and Secret Service agents, metal detectors and other security measures.
The church is surrounded by an iron fence and all of the openings — a pedestrian gate in the front, front and side doors to the church, and a driveway to the north — are guarded by city police or men in white shirts, ties and long black coats. Chicago police vehicles — two wagons, a handful of squads and SUVs — guarded the outside of the church while other vehicles circle the block.
Chicago police staffing the event are wearing dress blues — a blue overcoat with pockets that allow access to the duty belt, creased navy pants, and a hat.
Police took two men into custody after they got into an altercation near the back of the long line of mourners waiting to get into the church. One man was agitated, complaining about the long wait to get in. A second man confronted him and they began shoving each other before police intervened.
Sad story…but there have been many before her and there will be many more. Gun control has failed the citizens of Chicago. They need to clean up the drug and gang violence and then maybe find their streets safer. What’s really sad is the WH recognizes her senseless death but has ignored so many before her and has recently ignored the senseless murder of an American Hero, Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. Obama has said nothing about the senseless murder of a great American hero and his friend last weekend I doubt he or Michelle will even attend his funeral or memorial on Monday. If anything, his family will get a form letter signed by Obama and that’s it. I’d be shocked if he says or does anything else.
However, I’m not shocked by his lack of response on the murder of Chris Kyle because he left our heroes to die before in Benghazi. The only time he does show his face at a funeral is for political photo ops, especially when it comes to our military, or to push a political agenda.
In the meantime, Michelle Obama attends the funeral of one of thousands of teens killed in gun violence in Chicago, while she and Obama both ignore the senseless murder of an American Hero, Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield last week. Obama hasn’t spoken a word, but after the murder of Hadyia the White House issued a statement the day of or day after the shooting, yet still a week later and nothing has been said about war hero Chris Kyle’s murder!! Is it racism or because he has such a disdain for our military veterans and heroes or both?
Hadiya Pendleton funeral: Michelle Obama attends funeral in support of gun control agenda