WEST ALLIS, WIS., FEB. 20 -- Dan Jansen, returned home for his sister's funeral today, heard a message that seemed to echo the thoughts of many Americans.
"You have taught us, perhaps one of the most important lessons all of us have to learn in life," said the Rev. John Yockey. "For, you see, we all fall. But Dan, we thank you for showing us how to get up again."
"You have gotten up again with dignity, with graciousness," he said. "You have committed yourself, with Jane, to see everyone through to the finish line. You come from a family of champions. You are a champion, just as Jane is."
Jansen's sister, Jane Beres, died last Sunday of leukemia, hours before her brother took to the ice in the Olympic 500-meter speed skating event. Jansen, who was favored for a medal, fell in the first turn.
Then, Thursday night, he seemed headed for a medal in the 1,000 meters, but fell with 200 meters left.
"Dan, you love Jane as profoundly as she loves you," Yockey said. "She told you to 'Go for it.' And you did."
Monsignor Francis Beres, Jane's uncle by marriage, consoled the nearly 400 relatives and friends during the service at St. Augustine Catholic Church. "Jane, as we bid you farewell," he said in a voice that crackled with his grief, "we ask you to ask God to shower upon us strength, courage."
In his remarks, Yockey extended words to the rest of the Jansen family. "I take my hat off to you, as does an entire nation and a world that has been so deeply moved by the lessons you have taught us," Yockey said to the Jansens. "All of us who are privileged to be part of your family, walk with you as friends."