Steve Irwin was remembered at a public memorial Wednesday for the love he demonstrated "for the two things that ought to matter more to all of us than anything else â€" his love of his family and his love of his country," said Australia's Prime Minister John Howard.
Numerous celebrities paid tribute to everyone's favorite crocodile hunter. Those in attendance or on video included Russell Crowe, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Hugh Jackman, Kevin Costner, Kelly Ripa and Larry King, along with Australian country singer John Williamson, who sang one of Irwin's favorite songs, "True Blue."
In the end, however, 8-year-old Bindi Irwin best represented the spirit of the event. With her mother Terri holding Bindi's toddler brother Bob, Steve's daughter read her words to the crowd, running her tiny finger across the paper as she went along.
"My daddy was my hero," she said. "He was always there for me when I needed him. He listened to me and taught me so many things, but most of all, he was fun. I know that Daddy had an important job. He was working to change the world so everyone would love wildlife like he did.
"I don't want Daddy's passion to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did. I have the best daddy in the whole world, and I will miss him every day. When I see a crocodile I will always think of him, and I know that Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the animals. Daddy made this place his whole life, and now it's our turn to help Daddy."
Crowe, in a videotaped message from New York, said:
"We've all lost a friend. We've all lost a champion, and we're going to take some time to adjust to that."
Diaz, also in a video presentation, said that America was "just taken by him â€¦ in awe of his energy and how he actually went about putting himself forward. Every kid was in love with the idea of being able to be him."
Finally, Cameron's boyfriend chimed in. In a separate video, Timberlake (who had visited the Australia Zoo with Diaz in 2004) said:
"To Terri and Bindi and Bob and Steve's family and friends, I may have only really spent a day with you guys, but it was a day I'll never forget, and I'll never forget what I learned just by being around Steve."
We hope those fools from PETA were listening.