Thank You all for coming.
My sister, Margaret Elizabeth Ashe, was a true princess. I often told her this, because she seemed to think that the world revolved around her. I am very proud to say that it did, and today it still does.
I want to take this opportunity to celebrate Elizabeth’s accomplishments, and after I do I will tell you why this is so important.
I have here a resume that Elizabeth was working on. It’s nine pages long! She was a born leader, bred of the three strongest women I know, our mother Peggy Ashe, and our grandmothers, Margaret Craycraft (may God rest her soul) and Marguerite Intterante.
Elizabeth started early. In the second grade, at the same time as the 1988 elections, she first convinced her teacher to hold mock elections, and then went on to win those elections. By then she had decided that she was going to be the first woman president. But she understood well what was the true purpose of leadership, and that is to help improve the world. During her seventh grade year, she joined me in the local Red Cross Youth Council. Not only did she eventually take over the leadership of this council, but she won the Red Cross Youth Volunteer Award two years, one of those years being after the discovery of her illness, and a Red Cross Outstanding Group award. Red Cross wasn’t her only avenue of giving. She went one day with me to a community center called the Insider’s Teen Center, a place for teenagers to hang out and be in safe and positive environment. She soon started talking one on one to the kids there. Not only making friends, but changing lives. She would reach out and touch the hearts of the most troubled children. Elizabeth adored the Teen Center and the help it provided to so many teenagers. If you had the chance to ask the President of the United States one thing, what would it be? When the Starlight Foundation gave Elizabeth that chance in 1997, she told Mr. Clinton the value and importance of place like the Insider’s Teen Center. She handed him a large prepared report and gave him a 20-minute lobby.
Elizabeth also put in over 500 hours of volunteer work in the ER at Southern Regional Hospital, was a 1996 Outstanding United Way Volunteer, Hear Our Voices Essay contest Winner, 1998 Miss Georgia American Achievement, “Kid’s Who Care Award” from the Junior League of Atlanta and WXIA-TV channel 11, the list goes on and on. Her awards alone take up a half a page. She fought violence and hatred at Town Hall meetings, Peer Mediation programs, and was invited to give her say in a commercial.
Being a younger sister, Elizabeth had to follow many of my actions and the impressions I left on people. Luckily for her she was able to convince people that the Ashe family wasn’t all bad. She took many of my initiatives and completed them with true compassion. It wasn’t long before she overtook me and the things that I have accomplished. It’s my turn now to follow in her footsteps and home that I can do a fraction of the good she has done.
But what cannot be written on a resume is why everyone is here today. Elizabeth’s greatness is partly her deeds, but the lasting effect she had on this world was her love, wisdom and strength. And she willingly shared this with everyone she met. She left a trail of happiness and hope wherever she went. As I listened to everyone talk about my sister for the last few days, I heard the same quotes over and over, “I was amazed with her courage and strength”, “Her wisdom was beyond her years”, and “She helped change my life, she was such a good person”.
Elizabeth no doubt overcame many obstacles to be able to continue her life. She never factored in her disabilities when it came to getting the job done. In her own words on this resume, “The biggest obstacle I had to overcome is dealing with and conquering my disease”. “Conquering”, she plainly states in past tense, that she has conquered her disease. Her body may have given out, but she defiantly conquered all.
Why do we need to celebrate Elizabeth’s life? Because she was a model humanitarian whom we all need to follow in the foot steps of. She held a level of wisdom and strength in her heart that out grew most of us. We need to remember that and be inspired by her. Elizabeth’s soul burns inside me exciting me to change the world. Learn from her a great lesson, that no matter what your situation is, you can improve the world around you with love. And if you lack the strength to do that, just ask for Elizabeth. She’s there for us all now, to give us strength and love for all of eternity.