My dear family and friends, we have gathered here not only to mourn the loss of a great man and amazing father, but to celebrate his life’s amazing achievements. I am his daughter Jean Louise Finch and I wish to say a few words. Atticus finch was his name, a name we will remember for the rest of our days. My father was just and wise as well as honourable. Throughout his life he taught my brother Jem and I the ways of the world.
He taught us not to judge someone by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character and even then he suggested we give them a second chance. Without his guidance we would indeed be lesser people. He told us to “walk a mile in someone else’s skin before you judge them,” so we did. I remember Ms Dubose, god bless her, was a very harsh but misunderstood old woman who had this beautiful flower patch that Jem had destroyed in my third year of school. Atticus being a good and helpful man sent Jem off to read to her every day for about a week.
I thought nothing of it at the time, but I later found it helped her overcome a painkiller addiction. Atticus knew of this just how he knew all that Jem and I did both good and bad. Ms Dubose called Atticus ‘nigger lover’ more than I care to remember, just as she called me a ‘tom-boy’ and Jem a ‘disgrace’. Atticus did nothing to retaliate because he was sensible, all he would do was nod his head and greet her with the utmost respect. I respect him for that. She died with ease and free of her addiction.
It would please me to talk of one of the highlighting moments of my life and my father. A young coloured man named Tom Robinson was on trial for rape, back then it was unheard of for someone to defend a coloured man, especially a well rounded white man such as my father. Nevertheless my father took this case understanding the odds were against him. He once told Jem and me, “When you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win but sometimes you do. This is an idea I wish to carry on through my life and future generations as it represents my father’s good hearted nature and his belief in equality past the colour of your skin. Atticus was a man who if you knocked him down he would get back up and keep getting back up because he never let anything shake his beliefs of good will and his overwhelming courage. This was not a case he won and Tom Robinson (who I believed to be innocent) paid dearly with his life. This showed me even the greatest can lose sometimes.
With all that I have said behind us let us not cry for my father, but instead celebrate the moments in my father’s life that made him the man he was before he passed away. Let us celebrate his courageous spirit, his good will, his belief in equality and the lessons he taught us all. His lessons taught us respect above all and to love that which you have. My brother and I were lucky to have such a man as Atticus as our father and would not be where we are as the people we are without him. May he finally rest in peace, thank you.