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Clinton will speak at Friday's memorial service

October 19, 2000
By: Clayton Bellamy and Lauren Shepherd
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - This morning, Missouri's fallen governor Mel Carnahan will pay the last visit to a capitol where he has spent nearly two decades of his adult life.

He will arrive in a horse-drawn casket to near the spot where he took the oath of office as Missouri's governor.

Pres. Bill Clinton is one of several politicians and family friends who will speak at Friday's memorial service for Gov. Mel Carnahan, offering personal memories about the popular statesman.

The service, to begin at 11:30 a.m., will start at the governor's mansion where four white horses and a traditional small black funeral wagon will carry Carnahan's remains to the service.

A saddled black horse, with boots reversed in stirrups, will follow the procession. With no rider in the saddle, the horse symbolizes a warrior who will never ride again. It is a tradition reserved for U.S. presidents, governors and highly-ranked military officers.

The horse and buggy procession, including eight National Guardsmen from Missouri and Indiana, practiced through the streets around the Capitol Thursday afternoon as mourners looked on, snapping pictures and clasping tissues.

Indiana was included because Missouri's national guard does not have such an equistrain military unit.

A solemn drummer kept time for the Guardsmen, accompanying the practice group from the Governor's Mansion, down Capitol Avenue toward the Capitol building.

Clinton, his wife, Vice President Al Gore, Tipper Gore and the Carnahan family will all walk in the processional Friday along with other dignataries including state legislators.

Former U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton and Missouri Supreme Court Justice Michael Wolff are among those who will join Clinton in speaking at the service.

Governor Roger Wilson will deliver the remarks.

The University of Missouri University Singers will sing "the Battle Hymm of the Republic" at the end of the ceremony as well as a rendition of "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need."

No highways will be closed tomorrow for the ceremony, except for a brief undisclosed period when the presidential motorcade will travel down Highway 63, according to organizers of the event.

Other speakers include a member of the Carnahan family, several religious leaders and former Health Department Director Coleen Kivlahan.

The Missouri Air National Guard will fly the F-15 "Missing Man" Formation and the service will conclude with the standard -- yet always touching -- bugling of "Taps."

Visitors to the Governor's Mansion Thursday, eager to say a last goodbye to the governor, expressed admiration for the man, foreshadowing the mood for tomorrow's ceremony.

"I came here because he's the best governor the state has ever had," said Brenda Griffith from Jefferson City. "He's a part of my family in my heart."