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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Tribute to Joe




This afternoon, Joseph Vincent Paterno was laid to rest in State College, Pennsylvania.  I never met Joe Pa, but I can honestly say that he shaped my outlook on life as much as any man besides my own father.  You would expect to hear former players say such things.  And they have.  I spent most of the day on Sunday watching gridiron legends choke back tears as they talked about how they grew from boys to men in their four years with Coach Joe.  And almost none of them talked about the game of football.  They talked about tutoring sessions at the Paternos' kitchen table. They talked about how Joe treated their mother during the recruiting process.  And they talked about being visited by Joe in the hospital even when they were no longer contributing to the team.

I was unable to push aside the responsibilities of my job to head to State College to pay my respects.  But, through the phenomenon of social media, I was able to mourn in some way with like-minded folks ... some famous athletes, some members of the Paterno family, and some folks who are just 19 year-old college students who have lost a man they loved like a grandfather.  Since I have no words to pay appropriate tribute to Coach Paterno, I have, instead assembled a collection of photos that have been posted by others over the last few days across Twitter and Facebook.




Lights at Beaver Stadium were turned on Sunday night and will remain
lit until after the final public service is held on Thursday afternoon.
One last "White Out" for Joe.
This picture was taken by a student on Sunday night. 

  
On Sunday night, Jay Paterno made a clandestine trip to his
father's statue outside the stadium.  He posted this picture to Twitter.



Students began gathering at Joe's statue as word leaked out on Saturday night that Coach might not live through the night.  This picture was taken on Sunday night.








  
Over 30,000 people attended the 2-day public viewings.  After the private family service on Wednesday afternoon,
thousands lined the processional route to the cemetery.  This picture was taken from above
 Gate A at the stadium.  The photographer captioned it, "Waiting for Joe Pa one last time."
Funeral procession on College Ave.  SuePa rode in the front seat of the lead bus,
same seat her husband rode in to games.







Thank you, Joe Pa.  You will never be forgotten by this blog or the girl who runs it.