Now he Belongs to the Ages: Michael’s Memorial Joins Select Group of Unforgettable Telecasts

Jul 7, 2009

It happens only a few times in a lifetime – when presidents die and state funerals are held, when a beloved princess is killed in a sudden accident, or when men walk on the moon.

And now, the memorial service for Michael Jackson joins this very exclusive, very unique group of televised events – the kind of events that are never to be forgotten.

What a moving way to spend a Tuesday afternoon in July, watching a loving tribute that brought the world together for two hours.

What were the most moving moments? There were so many – Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz singing a duet on “I’ll Be There,” Queen Latifah reciting a Maya Angelou poem specially written for the occasion called “We Had Him,” Stevie Wonder singing “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer,” Brooke Shields weeping as she described a friendship forged in childhood with Michael, brother Jermaine Jackson singing Michael’s favorite song “Smile,” with its lyrics, “Smile though your heart is aching,” Smokey Robinson bidding farewell to his “little brother,” Michael’s daughter Paris, a stranger to all of us, taking the stage and declaring her love for her late father.

Watching alone at home, or in groups large or small throughout the world, it was impossible not to weep.

TV made it possible as only TV can do. For two hours on a Tuesday afternoon, gone were the afternoon soaps and talk shows, the Jons and Kates, bachelorettes and bridezillas. In their place, TV provided an entire planet with an opportunity to contemplate the durability of art and the universality of music.

It was as great a way as any to pay tribute to an entertainer we didn’t realize we loved so much until he was gone.


  1. It was easy to be cynical about the excessive coverage of Jackson’s death, and many complained about the live Memorial coverage before the fact. Some probably avoided watching to prove their point. However, actually watching it was another thing. Anyone who took the time to tune in was indeed treated to a classic TV event. Like Michael Jackson himself, the Memorial is unforgettable.

  2. I was lucky enough to be in the room for the memorial and I’ve pondered to myself what event in my lifetime will be as memorable as that experience, and I can’t think of any – although this year’s inauguration crossed my mind. But, if not for one, the other might not have happened. The coverage has certainly bordered on the insane, and has kept the sadness going. But, as you point out, ‘it was a great a way as any to pay tribute to an entertainer we didn’t realize we loved so much until he was gone.’

  3. amazing i just have always loved him and his sound. Michael was special, I was shocked at his death and the music world will never be the same again

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