City Desk has correspondent Andrew Beaujon filing updates from National Cathedral, where WRC-TV broadcaster George Michael‘s public memorial service is taking place.
First update: There are about 200 people in attendance, one of them a bagpiper.
Update 11:44: Longtime WRC-TV anchor Jim Vance got up there first, to eulogize the orange-haired TV personality. Vance said that Michael was “the first man to tell me he loved me.” When Vance told Michael that the comment made him uncomfortable, Michael responded with some classic Michael: “Get over it.”
Michael used the “get over it” refrain again when Vance accused him of cheating in a contest to use random words in a newscast. Vance painted a picture of a guy who would give money to story subjects on the condition that they don’t say where it came from but would also punch holes in a wall when upset.
Update 11:53: Former Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs came after Vance. He went lighthearted before going deep:
“I can still hear him coming down the hall jabbering.”
“He made me laugh.”
“This guy was as competitive as anyone I’d ever been around.”
“George could give you the tough questions.”
“He had a lot of friendships with people he had to ask tough questions.”
Then Gibbs moved into well-trodden territory. God, that is.
Some highlights of the heavy stuff, from Gibbs: “[George] knew where he was gonna spend eternity.”
According to Gibbs, Michael told him: “I know there’s a God who created this world.” And: “I know God made us with a soul that lives forever.”
Said Gibbs of his discussions with Michael: “We talked about mistakes.” Mistakes that Michael had made, mistakes that Gibbs had made. “Really what he was saying was, he knew that we were sinners, but he also knew that God sent a loving son to this earth,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said that Michael had asked Jesus to “be his Lord and personal savior.” “I think he had a real peace about where he was going.” When Michael was sick and struggling with cancer, he told Gibbs, “Joe, I need to get out of here. I need to talk to some people who are very close to me about their walk with God.”
Gibbs went on: “Now George is in heaven cheering us on. That cheers me on.” The closer: “God, take care of George till we get home.”