History is filled with memorable final services and funerals, particularly of those who have achieved fame in the arts or politics. Here are five of the more elaborate, interesting and heartbreaking funerals experienced in the United States.
The 16th President of the United States was only 56 years old when he was shot in Ford’s Theater in 1865, dying later that evening. Lincoln was 6’4” tall and was the leading figure steering the country through the Civil War. His April 14th assassination was followed by three weeks of tributes and memorials before he was laid to rest in Springfield, IL on May 4, 1865. The period between his assassination and burial was hi-lighted by a lengthy train trip that lasted from April 2 to May 3. During the trip, the train never exceeded 20 miles per hour as tens of thousands of Americans lined the tracks in salute of the fallen President. Processions and ceremonies were held in multiple cities along the route. The 1,600-mile train trip roughly followed the same route Lincoln took on his way to Washington after becoming President-elect four years earlier.
The world was stunned when hearing that John Lennon was gunned down and killed outside the Dakota Apartment Building in New York on December 8, 1980. A member of the Beatles, Lennon was also credited with co-writing many of the hits for the Fab Four with Paul McCartney and had legendary hits as a solo artist. Simply put, people LOVED John Lennon and gathered and sang his songs outside the Dakota for a week after his death. Lennon was cremated and instead of a formal funeral, his wife, Yoko Ono requested 10 minutes of silence across the globe. There was no funeral and the location of Lennon’s cremains remain a secret. Son Sean and Yoko are perhaps the only ones who know for sure his final resting place. There is a ground level tribute to Lennon at Central Park, next to the Dakota.
Most know Babe Ruth as the rotund slugger for the New York Yankees, but George Herman Ruth was also a superb pitcher and even appeared as himself in the movie “Pride of the Yankees”. When Babe Ruth died from cancer at just 53 years of age, baseball fans in New York and around the world mourned. It is estimated that about 50,000 fans passed by his open casket in Yankee Stadium on both August 17 and 18th, 1948, with another 6,000 mourners attending final services at St.Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. It is estimated yet another 50,000 people waited outside the church. Fans still leave baseballs, bats, flowers, flags and even empty beer cans at the Babe’s grave site in Hawthorne, New York at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
The King of Pop died on June 25, 2009, to the shock and dismay of millions. Twelve days later, a star-studded memorial service was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Interesting enough, this was the place where Jackson was rehearsing for his London appearance a day before his death. He had a solid bronze casket plated in 14k gold with a blue velvet lining. Eulogies were given by legends like Smokey Robinson, Lionel Ritchie, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and others. The broadcast of the memorial service was estimated to have been viewed by one billion people around the globe on television. Jackson was buried in the famous Forest Lawn Cemetery on September 3, 2009, and his burial plot is not accessible to the public.
Born as one of twins in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley rocketed to stardom in the early days of rock ‘n roll. Not only was he stunningly attractive but had the moves to back it up. He served proudly in the military and starred in dozens of films. He died at his home in Graceland in Memphis, TN on August 17, 1977. Even today it is hard to believe Elvis died at just 42 years of age. The funeral of Elvis Presley was held on August 18, 1977. While final services held in the living room at Graceland were subdued and modest, the procession was one fit for a king. Hundreds of thousands of flowers adorned the front of Graceland sent by fans. There were even 300 National Guard Troops sent by President Carter to maintain security and order. Initially, Elvis was buried next to his mother at Forest Hill Cemetery but after attempted vandalism, both were reburied at Graceland.
You do not have to be rich and/or famous to have a distinguished, memorable final service. Our professional staff can help you plan final services based on your needs and budget. Contact Fares J. Funeral Homes in Greater Cincinnati today to assist in final arrangements you can be comfortable with.