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Family and friends fill Hartman Park to honor Jackson Roos | Slideshow
Cars lined the streets atop Education Hill Monday evening as hundreds of people made their way to the baseball fields of Hartman Park.
But instead of visiting the park to enjoy a game, they were there for a memorial event to honor and celebrate the life of Jackson Roos, the 12-year-old boy who died in a zip-line accident in his family's back yard near Redmond last Wednesday.
Jackson's father Bryan Roos spoke briefly during the event and said he and his family were astonished by the outpouring support from the community and everyone's offers to help during this difficult time — especially as they could not think about anything beyond how Jackson's death affected the family personally.
"We are so humbled and overwhelmed at the overall community outreach to us…We are all one big family," Bryan told the crowd.
While the Roos family was humbled by the turnout for their son's memorial, family friend Erik Oh was not surprised.
"It was breathtaking, but I wouldn't expect anything less," Oh said. "(Jackson) deserved this. People loved him."
He added that so many people attended the memorial not just because Jackson's death was a horrible thing to happen, but also because they knew him and wanted to pay tribute to him.
Oh, who also spoke during the event, said he and his family have spent a lot of time with the Roos family and Jackson always made sure to watch out for Oh's three kids — the oldest of which is 6 — and went out of his way to spend time with them, despite the six-plus years age difference.
"He was awesome," Oh said.
Monday's memorial event was planned to give the community's youth an opportunity to celebrate their friend's life, but individuals of all ages attended to say goodbye.
Theresa Cranston never knew Jackson personally, but said her daughter had been a classmate at Emily Dickinson Elementary School before they moved to the Northshore School District. Cranston said her daughter and her daughter's friends were distraught when they heard the news of Jackson's death on Wednesday and things were very quiet and subdued at that evening's soccer practice.
In addition to Bryan and Oh speaking at the memorial, one of Jackson's former classmates sang Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On." The song's lyrics, "Nothing's gonna change destiny/Whatever's meant to be will work out perfectly…Keep holding on/'Cause you know we'll make it through," reflected Jackson and his family's outlook on life.
"(Jackson) believed that family is eternal," Oh said.