Andre Dawson - 2004 Induction

By: Peter Keating ESPN Senior Writer

“YOU RETURN A MAN to dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man!'” the reverend prays to God, quoting Psalm 90 about the brevity of human life. “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past.”

The preacher, standing in one corner at the front of a chapel drenched in warm apricot tones, plays a traditional role in this ancient ceremony. So does the keyboardist in the opposite corner, sitting on the other side of a flower-topped casket. But the front row at this memorial service is empty, and the mourners around the room sit far apart. The speakers and singers wear masks, and staff members at the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Miami don gloves. It’s just before Good Friday, and the coronavirus pandemic gives new meaning to walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

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