(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Friends and family members gathered Wednesday morning, Dec. 7 to share memories and to honor 28-year-old Daniel Aston.
Daniel was one of the five victims killed in the Club Q shooting on Nov. 19. He was a bartender at Club Q for the past two years.
The memorial service began showing a clip of Daniel in a documentary called Body Electric that was filmed on April 30, 2017. In the documentary, Daniel said “My hope for the future is to just be completely accepted with myself and to see more advocacy for transgender people and to see more representation in the media for all transgender people.”
“Daniel enjoyed his friends and his family. He enjoyed acting, music, art, and poetry,” said Pastor Clifton Turner. “So many of his friends expressed how he got them through rough times growing up and fitting into the complicated world we lived in.”
Throughout the ceremony, family members talked about Daniel’s passion for poetry, and read poems to honor his memory.
Daniel’s nephew, Alec Tiger, read “One’s-Self I Sing” by Walt Whitman.
“It’s by Walt Whitman, which was one of his favorites, and it was heavily annotated in his book,” said Alec Tiger. “And it’s about being passionate about life and expressing yourself, which I think is representative of Daniel.”
Wyatt Kent, Daniel’s partner, shared another poem by Walt Whitman to honor the memory of Daniel.
“He was always a big Walt Whitman fan, and he loved the line ‘we contain multitudes’ because it’s a truth evident in and of itself,” said Kent.
Kent shared the talent Daniel had in capturing moments and writing poetry.
“He also had an incredible and unique way of words, his way of speaking could entrance you, wrap you in his mind so closely,” said Kent. “But if you got the chance to read any of his words, or if he crept out of his little shell and shared some with you, you truly knew the wonder that were his inner workings. He was the poet in the truest and most literal sense of the word, an appreciator of life, of all small things, a lover of everything and all of romantic.”
Daniel’s cousin, Dallas, recalled the special bond the family has.
“We have a very special tradition, our family, where we stick together like nobody ever seen,” said Dallas. “We have three generations of cousins that laugh and love and cry and share life together, which is pretty special.”
Dallas said Daniel will be remembered for his bright blue eyes that are shared with many of his family members.
“You know, that spark comes from meemaw, so we call that the meemaw magic,” said Dallas. “It’s in all of us, you know, if you see all the relatives, you know, almost all of us have pretty similar eyes to those. And those eyes have been blessed to us by our meemaw… I think about five generations.”
Daniel was also remembered for being a fun and loving uncle.
“Daniel was really proud to be an uncle,” said Kate Tiger, Daniel’s sister-in-law. “If you knew him, you knew he liked that job, and he did it beautifully.”
Kate Tiger said Daniel was a protector and mentor to his nephews.
“We were so excited when he moved to Colorado a few years ago because we got to see him so much more,” said Kate Tiger. “He really loved being outdoors here in Colorado, and he would join us for hikes and camping trips.”
To honor the memory of Daniel, Pastor Clifton Turner said “you can give a memorial contribution to be made in Daniel’s name to the Inside Out Youth Services.”
There is also a tribute wall online where you can leave memories about Daniel.
In her opening thoughts, Dallas challenged the audience to hold Daniel’s memory in their hearts.
“Daniel has such a heart for helping others and championing others and I think the best way that we can continue that legacy, that heart, that love is that we continue to champion each other through these hard times,” said Dallas.
Dallas expressed gratitude for the support and love Daniel’s family has received.
“So thank you so much for all the love and outpouring for the family,” said Dallas. “It’s been incredible. To see just how many souls Daniel touched in 28 years and just keep that that magic alive for us and with us.”
The full service can be viewed below.