LOS ANGELES - (AP) - It was not spectacular, extravagant orbizarre. There were songs and tears but little dancing. Instead,Michael Jackson's memorial was a somber, spiritual ceremony thatreached back for the essence of the man.
Singer, dancer, superstar, humanitarian: That was how the some20,000 people gathered inside the Staples Center arena on Monday,and untold millions watching around the world, remembered Jackson,whose immense talents almost drowned beneath the spectacle of hislife and fame.
If there was a shocking moment, it came in the form of Jackson'sdaughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, who made the firstpublic statement of her 11 years. "Ever since I was born, Daddyhas been the best father I could imagine," she said, dissolvinginto tears and turning to lean on her aunt Janet. "I just want tosay I love him so much."
Outside the arena, the celebrity-industrial complex that Jacksonhelped create ground on. More than 3,000 police officers masseddowntown to keep the ticketless at bay. Helicopters followed thegolden casket as it was driven over blocked-off freeways fromForest Lawn cemetery to Staples Center. A bazaar of T-shirts,buttons, photos and other memorabilia sprouted in the blocks aroundthe memorial. Movie theaters played the service live and peoplepaused around the world to watch.