Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I attended the Caylee Marie Anthony Memorial Service this morning at The First Baptist Church. Honestly, I decided to go when I heard on the news last night that there would be no video recording, photography or even cell phones allowed into the service. To get in I had to put my sketchbook , pens and brushes in a bin at the metal detectors. The ushers were pleasant and helpful, making everyone feel welcome. Some families bought there small children to the service. The childrens voices could be heard a varying times adding a subtle tone of playful innocence to the proceedings.
I was unprepared for how emotionally overwhelming the actual service was. It pointed to the Orlando communities strength in times of trouble. The feeling of love and compassion was palpable. Toward the end of the service the lights were dimmed and a video was shown called "Gone too Soon". It was a masterfully edited tribute to Caylee's short life. There is something sublime in the final shot as Caylee pulls back, and then is shrouded behind, a cloth window shade.
It was also hard not to be moved by the tearful words from George and Cindy Anthony. Cindy Anthony said "Caylee Marie has taught many to love a child they have never met." "Let's stop the negativity and speculation." "Let's stand up for our right to live in a world filled with hope and faith and love". George said he wore a lavender shirt because it was Caylee's favorite color. He also stated, "Do not form any judgments, because I tell you, you don't want to be in any of our shoes. Casey deserves prayer, she deserves understanding, she deserves love." The Anthony's humble words were greeted by a thunderous standing ovation from a respectful crowd.
I hope the service helps the Anthony family and the community heal.