A memorial service for the “Greatest of All Time” Muhammad Ali was held in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., on Friday (June 10). Thousands of people lined the streets of Louisville to see the farewell procession before an interfaith funeral service.
“When he was younger, [Ali] said ‘I used to dream that I was running down Broadway in downtown Louisville, Kentucky and all of the people were gathered in the street waving at me and clapping and cheering my name,” his daughter Hana Ali wrote on Twitter on Friday. “‘I waved back, then all of a sudden I just took off flying. I dreamed that dream all the time.’”
The service took place at the KFC Center in Louisville and was open to the public, plus, it was also live streamed for the world to see.
The funeral was attended hundreds of celebrities, dignitaries and local politicians. Actor Will Smith, boxing legends Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were among the pallbearers. Comedian Billy Crystal recalled some wonderful memories of hanging out with his “Big Brother.” Former president Bill Clinton also spoke highly of the boxing icon as well.
Ali’s wife Lonnie Ali and other family members came up to podium to pay their respects to the man they admired and loved very dearly. Ali’s’ oldest daughter, Maryum Ali, delivered a touching poem thanking her dad for inspiring her to be the greatest.
President Barack Obama was unable to attend the ceremony because as he was at his eldest daughter Malia’s high school graduation. However, Valerie Jarrett, special assistant to the president, read a tribute penned by Obama.
“The man we celebrate today is not just a boxer or poet or agitator or man of peace. He was not just a Muslim or a black man or a resident of Louisville. He was Muhammad Ali,” he said. “He was bigger and brighter and more influential than just about anyone of his era. And yes, he was pretty too.”
In the end, Muhammad Ali symbolized the beautiful side of humanity. He was indeed “the Greatest” and may his humanitarian spirit continue to inspire others to give back.
We want to send our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Muhammad Ali’s family and friends. May he eternally rest in peace. Farewell, Champ.