Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Tuesday brought much-needed levity to the interfaith memorial service for the five Dallas police officers who were fatally shot last week by reciting Stevie Wonder lyrics.
After a long ovation, Brown took to the podium and recalled a time when he used to struggle to find the right words to impress women he liked.
"When I was a teenager and started liking girls, I could never find the right words to express myself," said Brown, who has been the face of the police department after last week's attack on police officers.
"After a couple of words they would walk away, leaving me figuring out what to do," he said to the grieving audience, that included President Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.
Brown said he turned to song lyrics from the likes of Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green and the Isley Brothers. But for girls he loved, he had to "dig down deep" and "get some Stevie Wonder."
So today I'm going to pull out some Stevie Wonder for their families," Brown said. "So families, close your eyes and just imagine me back in 1974 with an afro and some bell bottoms and wide collar."
He then went on to recite the lyrics of Stevie Wonder's song "As."
"We all know sometimes life hates and troubles can make you wish you were born in another time and space," Brown began. "But you can bet your lifetimes that and twice it's double that God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed."
We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it
You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great-great grandchildren will tell [them]
I'll be loving you
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky — I'll be loving you
Until the ocean covers every mountain high — I'll be loving you
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea — I'll be loving you
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream — I'll be loving you
Until the day is night and night becomes the day — I'll be loving you
Until the trees and seas up, up and fly away — I'll be loving you
Until the day that 8 times 8 times 8 times 8 is 4 — I'll be loving you
Until the day that is the day that are no more — I'll be loving you
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left— I'll be loving you
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself — I'll be loving you
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through — I'll be loving you
Until the day that you are me and I am you--
Now ain't that loving you?
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Ain't that loving you
Until the ocean covers every mountain high
And I've got to say, always, I’ll be loving you always
"And there's no greater love than this, that these five men gave their lives for all of us," Brown concluded before introducing President Obama.
"Chief Brown, I'm so glad I met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder," Obama said after taking the podium.
Check out the lyrics to Stevie Wonder's "As" here:
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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