(Host) The funeral service for Brooke Bennett was held today.
The 12-year-old Braintree girl’s disappearance and death triggered an intensive federal and state investigation and led to the filing of kidnapping charges against her uncle.
Hundreds turned out for the service as they have before, for a wake and vigil.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports.
(music) "We Shall Overcome"
(Zind) This was a service intended to support and comfort both a family and a community – as evidenced by one of the musical selections.
Many among those present didn’t know Brooke Bennett, but they’ve been shaken by the events surrounding her death. More than, once the Pastor Tom Harty who helped officiate the services invoked the phrase ‘never again’.
(Harty) "This community will not be defined by this act. It will be defined by our response. And our response will be measured and considered and it will be in due time as our message has told us, a time for everything. And that the legacy, the legacy will be never again."
(Zind) The service took place under a tent raised on the playing fields behind Randolph Union High School, where Brooke Bennett played lacrosse. Her jersey and lacrosse stick were among the flowers and photographs that flanked the silver gray casket.
There were some very personal moments. Brooke Bennett’s sister, Savanna, read a prayer, and her cousin and friend Courtney Jacques remembered the girl who would have turned 13 this week.
(Rich) "Brooke was a brave and beautiful girl. She would always put fun into every soul that she knew. She loved her family and friends always."
(Zind) Among those in attendance were the Governor and Lieutenant Governor – and many of the officers who had helped in the investigation into Brooke Bennett’s death.
As a soloist sang, nearly a thousand people who attended the service filed out to return to their community changed by a young girl’s death.
For VPR News, I’m Steve Zind in Randolph.
Photo: A mother and daughter look at memorials to Brooke Bennett before a funeral service, Wednesday, July 9, 2008 in Randolph, VT (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)