Remembering an icon: Memorial held in Bakersfield for Merle Haggard

FILE - In this May 28, 2003, file photo, country music legend Merle Haggard smiles during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A memorial service was held Tuesday morning for Bakersfield native and country music legend Merle Haggard.

Family, friends and fans packed into Valley Baptist Church to remember Haggard, who died last month on his 79th birthday.

"This is giving them an opportunity to come out and just show their respects and say their goodbyes and put closure on his death," said one of the organizers, Dianne Sharman, "but he will live on forever with his music."

RELATED | Bakersfield music legend Merle Haggard dead at 79

Haggard's daughter, Dana, was on hand and described the memorial as "an awesome feeling" and "overwhelming" at the same time.

"... you're grieving, and you know that there are people across the world that are grieving," she said. "And that's what this day's about, is much more than just Merle Haggard the entertainer. There was a dad, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a brother, uncle, a cousin and a friend."

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