More than 5,000 people gathered inside the College of Charleston's TD Arena on Friday to celebrate Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the beloved pastor and state senator who — along with eight other black parishioners — was murdered by white supremacist Dylann Roof at Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week, USA Today reports.
And while mourners flocked from around the country to pay tribute — including President Barack Obama, who delivered a powerful eulogy at the service — perhaps no tribute was as moving as that given by Pinckney's own family.
Each of Pinckney's daughters, Eliana and Malana, wrote brief yet heartbreaking pieces to include in their father's funeral program. Below is a transcript of these entries, aggregated from tweets sent out by The State political reporter Andy Shain, ABC News and others reporting from the scene.
Read them here:
"To My Daddy:
When someone loves you they care
Even if they are not there
They motivate you two [sic] prosper and believe
In any of your dreams
They watch over you day and night
Two [sic] make you are doing alright
They believe in you and treat you well
And I may not show it but he won't care
This person I am talking about here today
Is my dear father who passed away
And although he may be gone
He's there with me all day and night long
I will always remember and love you.
I know you were shot at the church
and you went to Heaven.
I love you so much!
I know you love me
and I know that you know that I love you too.
You have done so much for me.
I can't say it all. You will be watching over me
And you will be in my heart. I love you!
Love your baby girl and grasshopper,
Pinckney's wife, Jennifer, also wrote a letter that was included in the program. "You meant so much to me and the girls," she wrote. "You were our world." She added that she felt "robbed, cheated and cut short" by her husband's death, but that she was "thankful for one consolation that your life was not in vain."
"You were our hero and now you are our angel," she wrote. "I will not let go of what we have shared."
The service also comes on a day of jubilation in many other parts of the country. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, in which it ruled that the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize "same-sex marriage and same-sex marriage performed in another state," Mic's Natasha Noman reports.
Mother Jones adds that Pinckney was a committed supporter of LGBTQ rights in his capacity as a state senator and member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. "He gave me his assurance then that he was on our side," Jeff Ayres, the chairman of South Carolina Equality, told Mother Jones. Ayres said that the caucus "always has our backs, and has always been there unconditionally to support the LGBT community."
That Pinckney's funeral is taking place on the same day as this historic ruling captures the endlessly frustrating paradoxes of American progress. Celebration and mourning go hand in hand here. Pinckney's family's moving words stand as a testament to the heartbreak that comes with it.