This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget.
Momlogic's Erin: When I found out yesterday morning that I had won the lottery for tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial, I couldn't believe it. I knew this was a historical moment in time ... and I couldn't believe I would be there to witness it in person.Staples Center had a very somber and emotional ambiance. It wasn't a party atmosphere when you walked through the door. The crowd was definitely sad and quiet. It didn't have a concert feel at all.
The crowd was very diverse -- all ages and all ethnic backgrounds. There were a few people dressed like Michael Jackson, but not a ton of people who were over-the-top or crazy about it. Everyone was there for the same reason, and was very nice and sympathetic.
I saw a couple of moms with babies and kids. One mom I talked to was from Camp Pendleton who had her 3-month-old with her. A San Francisco couple I met brought their 10-month-old with them so that they can tell him he was there once he gets a little bit older.
There was excitement in the air, but it was definitely subdued. There was hooting and hollering every now and then, but only when it was appropriate. The crowd was very aware of what the family was going through, and was very respectful.
As far as the service went, the singing was absolutely amazing and emotional. I was crying through every song.
Many of the speeches were surprising. Al Sharpton gave a powerful speech ... I don't consider myself a big fan of his normally, but I was moved. Brooke Shields was so heartfelt. Stevie Wonder was absolutely amazing -- his song was so incredible.
The most touching moment of the day for me was when Michael's daughter Paris spoke. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and made you really realize that to us, Michael might have been an icon -- but to her, he was her dad. Since we've never heard from his children before, it was a moment that just took your breath away. She was so brave. It was a lovely touch, and I thought she did an amazing job.
As we left the Staples Center, everyone was courteous and gracious. Strangers were offering to take pictures of each other and loaning out pens to write a note on the big sign honoring Michael.
I got a bit of closure from the event ... the closure that I believe fans were looking for. It helped me realize what Michael Jackson really meant to people. I was so lucky to be there.
I'm not a hugely spiritual person, but all the prayers and songs were very healing. I took comfort in the fact that while he's gone from us here, he will live on forever. This was a moment I know I will never forget.