"She worked for us", he said.
Fans lined up for hours outside the Greater Grace Temple in Detriot awaiting the chance to attend the all-day affair featuring prominent speakers such as former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Smokey Robinson as well as music by singers Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, and Chaka Khan.
"In the Army Respect for others underpins all that we do, so there was only one tune that would do for today's ceremony: the 1967 Aretha Franklin hit "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." a declaration from a strong confident woman who knows that she has everything".
"Even though you knew over the last couple of months that she was sick and you knew this day was coming and you thought you would be prepared for it - but now that it's here it really is overwhelming", he said.
Gospel stars Marvin Sapp and Vanessa Bell Armstrong are also slated to make appearances at the funeral, as well as the Aretha Franklin Choir and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.
"I've been wishing and hoping that I will wake up and that this is just a dream", she said.
"She gave us pride".
"We started out not as a president, a first lady, senator, secretary of state", Clinton said, referencing his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was sitting nearby.
"I was here for the Rosa Parks funeral", Jackson said.
Letters from formers presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were also read at the service.
She continued, "When I would go to her shows and watch her sing it would be the best feeling in the world". "She had the voice of generation", Clinton said. He then played "Think" on his phone and held it up to the mic. The vast amount of people who flocked to the ceremony was a true testament to the influence Aretha had on the world around her. Aretha was an 18-time Grammy victor, but her reach was more profound than what can be marked by numbers and awards. Her music, he said, "captured some of our deepest human desires, namely affection and respect". "'I wanna see what the girl is carrying out.'" Franklin, had an outfit change between the public viewings of her body and the funeral: she's now wearing a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels to the funeral, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Additionally, among those honoring Franklin Friday were about two dozen owners of Pink Cadillacs who arrived at the church early Friday. The mayor announced that Detroit's Chene Park and its performance amphitheater would be renamed for Franklin.