jack layton funeral

Chalk for Jack at Nathan Phillips Square

Impromptu memorial for Jack Layton at the Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.

Going to go watch his funeral now and get emotional. 
Thanks again Jack.

here’s a flickr stream of some amazing photos of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lewolf011/6076393292/

It's sinking in

The day Jack Layton passed away, I was saddened - as most people across the nation were. But, everything seemed very surreal. It was tough information to digest, and even though I was working in the CBC’s Toronto newsroom that day - watching story after story about Layton, meeting special guests who knew him, and taking in the solemn atmosphere around me - it somehow just didn’t feel real. 

It wasn’t because the news was shocking, anyone who had seen Jack announcing his temporary leave a month prior could have predicted his fate. It also wasn’t because I was in denial. I mean, I didn’t know the guy personally, so I figured that was that. It was sad news. I would be upset about it for a couple days. But, like the rest of the nation, I would move on.

And then today, it hit me. Today, it is beginning to feel real. Today, it is all sinking in. As I said before, I didn’t know Jack Layton, but today it feels like I lost a best friend.

It was a story by CBC reporter Ron Charles that did it for me. It was a report about a former homeless man who had been a resident of Toronto’s Tent City - a shanty-town on undeveloped land in the Toronto portlands. The man had been moved into affordable, subsidized housing, something Jack Layton had taken into his own hands. It was Jack Layton who single-handedly got this man back on his feet.

This story about Layton’s compassion for fellow humans made it all click.

We have lost such an incredible advocate for social-rights and equality. A strong advocate for the people. We live in a world where money and greed drive a shamless society but, it’s people like Jack Layton who bring us back from the brink, reminding us that everyone is human. Everyone has the same basic needs - but not everyone has access to these necessities. It’s people like Jack Layon who humanize politics, making it about the people, and not about money. There are not enough politicians, yet alone people, who share and believe in what Layton fought for.

Tomorrow is the state funeral, which I’ll be watching…and working. Since I’ll be working, I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to take it all in and take a moment to remember Jack as it all unfolds. Sometimes, working in news, stories of large significance go in one ear, (or eye) and out the other. Often they are drained of their importance or symbolism because they become routine and YOU become desensitized. Regardless, it’ll be incredibly hard to hold back the tears tomorrow as Layton’s family, city and country say goodbye. An incredible man deserves an incredible send off.