1 of 7
Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News
Mourners wave canes and white handkerchiefs as the funeral procession of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley enters the Salt Lake Cemetery on Saturday.

Sue Willis staked out a place on South Temple near A Street about 20 minutes before noon, sitting in a lawn chair listening to a radio for the end of the funeral services for LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Willis had her white handkerchief ready. So did her daughters Megan, 16, and Mickenzie, 13, who made the trip with Mom from Kearns to be there when President Hinckley's hearse went by.

"It's just nice to have a final say 'goodbye,"' said Mickenzie. "This is just our way of showing gratitude for what he has done for us."

Just down the street Kristen Smith and her husband, Benjamin, were ready with black canes they bought for about $12 at a grocery store. Smith was the organizer of an effort to bring people out to wave canes and handkerchiefs.

"I think it's great to see people of all ages here," Smith said. She planned to take photos of the event and post them on the Internet.

The idea came to Smith as a way to honor President Hinckley, who in his later years used a cane to greet people and would do the same with a handkerchief. Smith had hoped thousands would turn out, but the numbers were closer to the hundreds up and down the funeral procession route along South Temple. She was hopeful people would donate their canes to charity afterward.

The news of waving canes and handkerchiefs spread through media and Internet sites and brought out people like Kami Antriyao and her friend, Trisha Hunsaker. They used borrowed canes to pay their last respects.

David Gould, of Bountiful, waited near the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with his twin 14-year-old daughters Esther and Madeleine and their friends Laura Barker, 14, and Thomas Gordon, 13. The twins had canes once used by their grandfather, Lowell Gould.

Normally, all of the teens agreed they would be watching cartoons or playing video games on a Saturday around noon.

"This is way more important than anything," Gordon said.

"Your cartoons can wait," Esther Gould piped in.

"We love the prophet," Barker said.

Madeleine Gould said President Hinckley was a great man and set an example for her family.

To hear the teens talk that way was a moving experience for David Gould. "I'm very proud of them," he said. "I'm pleased to know the prophet was important enough in their lives to take a Saturday to honor him."

A few feet away Abbie Vianes and Chantal Courteille used handkerchiefs from Great Britain, where Vianes noted President Hinckley had served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"He used to say 'hello' to us," Vianes said while looking down at the white handkerchiefs. After the funeral, she said, the handkerchiefs will become keepsakes.

E-mail: [email protected]