Guiding Joe Home—in Silence
So quiet. So sad. So respectful.
Usually when College Avenue is packed with thousands of people who are standing in the middle of the street with cell phones, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Not today.
Usually when people have to wait outside, in the cold, for well over an hour, tempers fray. Not today.
Like so many other Penn State fans, alumni, students, and employees, we the magazine staff went outside to pay our respects as Joe Paterno’s funeral procession wound through campus. We stood at the closest spot to our office, at Fraser Street and College Avenue, and waited so long that our fingers and toes froze. None of us would have missed it.
The procession arrived a little before 5. First the hearse, carrying Joe’s coffin. Then the blue bus … with Sue Paterno sitting in the first seat, Joe’s seat for 46 years, one that this year’s team left empty after their coach was fired. His 17 grandchildren waved at the crowd. A few other cars and buses followed.
It was totally silent.
I was following along on Twitter—it’s worth checking out the hashtag #guidejoehome for real-time observations and emotions—so I knew that when the procession reached us, it would get quiet. It had everywhere else. But that didn’t dull the impact … wow.
Lori Shontz, senior editor