Posted on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 1:55pm PDT
X17online has EXCLUSIVE details from inside the memorial service honoring the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death today at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The service started about forty minutes later than planned and Michael's sister Janet was the first to arrive wearing a sleek black skirt suit with large dark glasses. She was very somber and sat in the first row in front of the tomb. She brought a bouquet of flowers and placed it near her brother's resting place.
Michael's parents Katherine and Joe were absent, of course, having spent the first anniversary of their son's death at his birthplace in Gary, Indiana. Michael's children are vacationing in Hawaii. There was no mention of them during the service.
There were about 10 - 12 rows of 3 white chairs that seated the small group. Michael's tomb was draped in white flowers with a statue of three cherubs placed in front, holding a jewel-encrusted gold crown in honor of the King of Pop. Under that stood a framed family photo leaning against the column on which the cherubs stood.
Just inside the mausoleum, in front of the white chairs, stood two large portraits of Michael on easels.
A Baptist minister and friend of the family's read from the Bible to open the service, including Corinthians 13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
The first family member to speak was Austin Jackson, Michael's nephew -- his sister Rebbie's son. He told the group how he grew up around such loving people, including Michael and how he was "surrounded by love" and how he "learned so much from Michael."
Jermaine Jackson spoke next, focusing on the duty of the family and of Michael's fans to "carry on the legacy."
The service lasted just under and hour and the guests proceeded down a walk carved out between ropes holding back fans outside the mausoleum at Forest Lawn. Janet, Randy, Tito and Jermaine were waving to the crowd as fans screamed to them and held signs in honor of Michael. Helicopters circled overhead and the media were held at bay on the periphery of the cemetery.
We are told the ceremony was tasteful and intimate and that there were sad moments but the overall tone was one of hope and the idea of carrying on Michael's memory for the family and for future generations of fans.
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