TODAY is not a day for mourning the loss of Daniel nine years ago.
It is a day to celebrate the legacy he leaves behind - a community united in the conviction that we all must do more to make our children safe.
Daniel's beautiful eyes and beaming smile not only rallied the Sunshine Coast community but captured the heart of a nation.
Year after year, thousands have walked in Daniel's honour, telling their children along the way of his story - and the need for vigilance against the evil that can prey upon them.
Few know that Daniel's legacy in creating child safety awareness started well before he disappeared, albeit in a much smaller way.
He featured in a front page story about how a $30 helmet saved him.
As a six-year-old, he was hit by a four-wheel-drive just a few doors from the family's then Mountain Creek home.
Daniel and twin brother Bradley were riding their bikes together when Daniel rode out in front of the car. Parked cars obscured both Daniel's vision - and that of the driver, herself a mother of three.
"I hit him so hard - I'll never forget that thud," the driver told the Sunshine Coast Daily at the time.
"I really thought that when I hit him he was dead - a little kid like that hit by such a big car."
Seven years later, Daniel created a collective thud across the nation as we heard of this beautiful boy vanishing while on his way to buy Christmas gifts for his family.
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Over the years, we saw photos of the young boy cuddling his cat, working hard at his schoolwork, proudly riding the pony on the family farm at Woombye or smiling as he anticipated devouring a birthday cake.
Daniel became a part of us all, particularly here on the Sunshine Coast.
We have watched with admiration as Bruce and Denise and the red army that has become the Daniel Morcombe Foundation have remained resolute in their quest to make a difference in Daniel's honour.
Finding Daniel was always the family's first priority.
Today, they deserve their own private time at Daniel's final resting place to say their goodbyes with just their family.
Closure is a not word they use.
But today we pray they will find rest in knowing that Daniel's body is finally home and his spirit waits for them in a far better place.
DANIEL MORCOMBE'S FUNERAL
- Daniel Morcombe's funeral will be held at 11am at St Catherine of Siena Church, Sippy Downs.
- Police have urged people to arrive early. Parking will available at the school ovals and then, if needed, at the university.
- There will be no parking on Sippy Downs Drive.
- A large screen television will broadcast the service outside the church where covered shade areas will be provided.
- People have been urged to wear hats and bring sun screen, fold-up chairs and water.
- The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.
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