Michael Jackson's memorial service on Tuesday managed to honor nearly every element of the singer's extraordinary life, from his phenomenal childhood to his troubled later years.
The audience of thousands stood and applauded for 45 seconds in agreement as Motown Records founder Berry Gordy concluded that Jackson was not merely the King of Pop, but the greatest entertainer who has ever lived.
Though the show featured stunning, show-stopping performances from Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, and Stevie Wonder, Jackson's 11-year-old daughter, Paris Katherine, yielded perhaps the most emotional reaction. People who had arrived jovial and ready to celebrate Jackson's life left in tears after her raw, simple tribute:
"I just want to say, ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say, I love him so much."
The sight of the little girl and her two brothers, who their father kept so long behind masks and protected from the public eye, was heartbreaking.
Others honoring Jackson included fellow child star Brooke Shields, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Magic Johnson. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas spoke directly of his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges. Many in the audience recited the words with her as she told them, "in this country you are innocent until proven otherwise."
Adding to the poignancy of the event was its location, the Staples Center, where Jackson had rehearsed for planned comeback concerts just weeks earlier.
The event ended with a profound reminder of Jackson's absence: As "Man in the Mirror" played, a single spotlight beamed down on a microphone with no one behind it.