Elizabeth Edwards Memorial Service – Protest Fizzles

Hundreds of mourners packed Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday to pay their last respects to Elizabeth Edwards, 61, who died at home last Tuesday. This is the same church where Edwards’ son Wade, who died in a car crash at age 16, was memorialized.

A Letter From The Grave

During a tearful funeral, her oldest daughter Cate, 28, read from a letter that the dying Edwards had written to her three children: “For all I have said about life, I want you to know that all I ever really needed was you – your love, your presence – to make my life complete.”

John Edwards Remains Silent

The two younger children, Emma, 12 and Jack, 10, sat in the front row with their father, one-time Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards. He did not speak. The mourners included Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who in 2004 picked John Edwards as his running mate in an unsuccessful bid for the White House.

From CNN:

The funeral opened with a eulogy from Elizabeth Edwards’ longtime friend Hargrave McElroy, who made the audience laugh with tales of Elizabeth’s competitive nature, particularly with games. She also noted Edwards’ love of Christmas, describing how the Edwards family, including John Edwards, decorated their Christmas tree last Saturday, just three days before she died after a long battle with breast cancer at the age of 61.

In addition to McElroy’s eulogy, another friend, Glenn Bergenfield, and Edwards’ daughter Cate were expected to speak.

Others expected to attend included North Carolina Gov. Ben Perdue; U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina); Vicki Kennedy, the wife of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy; John Podesta, a former Clinton administration chief of staff and current head of the Center for American Progress; members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation; and more than 100 former campaign staffers.

It was a public ceremony because Edwards was known for insisting, much to the dismay of staffers, that all of her events be open to the public, according to a friend. Supporters say that even though a public funeral might usher some chaos to the event, this is what Edwards would have wanted.

Westboro Baptist Church Protest Fizzles Out

Another group of mourners gathered a few blocks away from the church, ready for a counter-demonstration against picketers from Westboro Baptist Church. Care2′s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux wrote here on Thursday about the decision of this controversial and decidedly unChristian group of people to picket Edwards’ funeral.

This so-called religious group of churchgoers from Kansas is well known for its extremist opposition to homosexuals, Jews, and any number of other groups. They regularly holds protests at funerals for U.S. service members who have died, saying the war’s dead are God’s punishment for the country tolerating gays and lesbians.

But the whole protest fizzled out, as only five Westboro congregants showed up for the protest.

That could be the only bright side of a very sad day.

Creative Commons - Tony the Misfit

164 comments

Mary Swan
Mary S.5 years ago

I hope that the low-key protest is the trend for such (non)events in the future. Though I won't hold my breath.

suzanne s.
suzanne s.5 years ago

it's in the 'fire in a crowded theater' as much as common respect: it's inciteful and therefore potentially dangerous to others.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago

thanks for the article.

Jeff B.
Jeff B.5 years ago

The protest may have fizzled, but Westboro Fred & his family of cretins got what they wanted - more attention. America loves it's wackos, or at least the media thinks so...

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think Im delicious
With the stuff that I say
I am the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I am the slime oozin out
From your TV set

FZ

Rae Z.
Rae Zehel5 years ago

Unfortunately, the Phelps family has been well within their legal rights in their petitioning, however the real problem here is the law itself that allows such scum to be limited to 1500 yards or whatever the individual state's limitation may be. This is no longer about freedoms, rights, beliefs or groups of any kind; it is about upholding the basest of all of civilized humanity's characteristics: DECENCY. Even desecrating a graveyard is above this heinous act the Phelps' "Church" commits. If our troops' deaths are punishment for anything, it's for allowing you and your horrid "church" to defecate on the name of God and all that America stands for, Christian and non-Christian alike.

Crystal T.
Crystal T.5 years ago

Much as I believe in free speech, I too believe in the rights of those to not be hassled when they are hurting. It's always interesting that when bullies (and that's what these Westboro people are, not God's people) are met with strength, they fade away, the cowards and hypocrites that they are. Sounds like what happened here is what I think should always happen. A ring should be formed between them and the mourners and match them sign to sign if need be. Signs like 'God is calling His favored child home to Him -- What do you think He will think of you for maligning His child?'

Tom Y.
Tom Y.5 years ago

Cruelty is unbecoming in anyone. Westboro seriously needs to comprehend what people are seeing when they see these pickets... my suspicion is, they may be too prideful to care. That too is unbecoming.

Davina C.
Davina C.5 years ago

To give protesters like this any kind or any degree of attention in the media -- these soulless, lowest of low-class, mindless, self-obsessed "twits" -- is about equivalent to allowing a two-year-old who throws him-or-her-self onto the floor and sinks into a screaming magenta tantrum, to run the details of your daily life as a parent. These extremely limited minds engaged in protesting in this way need to find meaning in their own lives; I think they might be assisted in that direction if everyone were to simply turn our backs and not give them another thought.

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

I'm glad the protest was a dud. For God's sake, this was a funeral and protesting at a funeral is totally inappropriate. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know they have freedom of speech and such, but having those freedoms means exercising them wisely at the right place and time. They have the legal right to protest (although I think their reasons are based in hate and stupidity) but just because they can do something doesn't mean they should. Like protesting at a funeral...or reproducing (especially in their case).

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.5 years ago

Free speech is a right, so is the right to privacy.