CHARLESTON, SC – On Friday, hundreds attended funeral services for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney on in downtown Charleston at the TD Arena. Pinckney, who was also a state senator, was the pastor at the Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street in Charleston where he and eight others were shot to death last Wednesday night.
Many started lining up outside the TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston early Friday morning. By 10:45 a.m., Charleston police said the arena had reached capacity with 5,400 people.
“This is no longer the td arena. we have transformed it into a sanctuary,” said Presiding Pastor Rev. Norvel Goff, Sr.
“The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that,” President Barack Obama mentioned during his eulogy.
What shook a city to its core, almost a block away from where 9 people were killed at a bible study at Emanuel AME Church, many gathered to say goodbye to Senator Pinckney.
“Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckey lived,” President Obama stated. “Because of you we will see the confederate flag come down in the state of South Carolina,” added Senator Gerald Malloy.
“Black and white that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjecation,” the president explained. Also in attendance for today’s funeral was First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, as was House Speaker John Boeher, and Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Lindsey Graham.