Family, friends say their final goodbyes to Hank Aaron at funeral service

ATLANTA — Family members, friends, baseball executives, and world leaders paid their respects Wednesday to Hank Aaron. The Braves home run king died Friday at his home at age 86.

Channel 2 Action News carried the touching ceremony as everyone shared their favorite Hammerin’ Hank memories.

Former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young said the legendary Aaron wasn’t much of a complainer, except for one time.

“The last time and probably the only time I heard him complain, he said, ‘You know all of my friends and brothers in the old Negro League are gone except me,’” Young said. “Well he’s with them now, but he has not left us. He will always be with us, like MLK is always with us.”

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Many people who spoke at Aaron’s funeral were grateful for his amazing feats on the field, but even more so his integrity, character and kind heart off the field.

“If there ever was a finer human being on this planet other than Henry, I do not know who that was was.,” former CNN executive Tom Johnson said.

Aaron’s grandson became emotional as he recalled some of his grandfather’s favorite quotes. Raynal Aaron said his grandfather wanted Babe Ruth, who he passed for the home run record, to keep getting his due.

“‘I don’t want them to forget Babe Ruth. I just want them to remember me.’ Grandfather, thank you for your guidance and I will miss you everyday,” he said.


Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also recalled their long friendships with Aaron. Carter couldn’t attend in person but sent a video tribute to Aaron. Clinton delivered a heartfelt speech.

“He loves you more than life. That’s a gift some people never feel for five minutes,” said Clinton, who spoke of the grace and strength Aaron had through his life. “His whole life was one long home run. And now he has rounded the bases.”

After the funeral, Aaron’s procession drove through the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium where he knocked out his historic No. 715 home run. Aaron will be laid to rest in a temporary grave at South View Cemetery.

You can watch the full speeches from Aaron’s funeral below.

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