RAEFORD, N.C. (CBS News) - A memorial service for George Floyd was held Saturday in his birthplace of Raeford, North Carolina, where family members, public officials and clergy spoke, while thousands attended a public viewing earlier. Many of the speakers called for change amid days of national unrest after his death in Minneapolis.
"Enough. Don't let the life of George Floyd be in vain. It has become a sacrifice," said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin.
Addressing law enforcement officers, Peterkin said they need to say these six words: “We are part of the problem.”
Peterkin told mourners to look and listen to the younger generation's calls for change.
"America, you better get this, what they're saying is there is going to be no peace until there is justice," he said.
Jeremy Collins, a representative for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office, presented a flag to Floyd's family, who were dressed in white. Ruby Floyd, a relative, said "God is on our side."
Collins delivered a North Carolina Flag that was raised on June 3, 2020 in Floyd’s honor.
One of Floyd's uncles, Isaac Floyd, sang an emotional "I Won't Complain" at the service.
Public officials honored Floyd and repeated calls for change.
Demonstrations and protests erupted throughout the nation, as well as Charlotte, and some turned violent.
Saturday’s memorial service in North Carolina was the second of three stops.
Thousands showed up, showing support, at the open viewing.
Then, a gathering of close friends and family members packed the church to celebrate Floyd’s life.
On Thursday, a memorial service was held in Minneapolis where he was living. After Saturday’s service in North Carolina, Floyd’s body will be taken to Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life, for a public viewing.
"We're ready to usher in a new era of trust and justice and end this pandemic of racism in America," said Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
Two lines of about 100 people each formed outside the church, CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN reported. When the hearse bearing Floyd’s coffin arrived, chants of “Black Power,” “George Floyd” and “no justice, no peace,” echoed from beneath the covered entrance.
"It could have been me. It could have been my brother, my father, any of my friends who are black," a man in the crowd, Erik Carlos of Fayetteville, told WNCN. "It was a heavy hit, especially knowing that George Floyd was born near my hometown. It made me feel very vulnerable at first."
Before the private ceremony, thousands attend a public viewing, the Associated Press reported.
The first service for Floyd was held Thursday in Minneapolis. Family, friends and public officials gathered to honor him.
A 500-person ceremony will be held at Fountain of Praise Church in Houston on Tuesday.
Last weekend, during a press conference, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had spoken to Floyd’s sister, Bridgett, who still lives in Hoke County.
He assured her that the state will do everything it can to work for justice in Floyd’s honor.
“While I cannot bring her brother back, I can work for justice in his name,” Cooper said. “I’ve assured her that’s what we will do.”
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin asked visitors and supporters to wear a mask, and said protesting was not allowed.
“As the Sheriff of Hoke County, I’m asking on behalf of the Floyd family for those who plan on attending the viewing to be respectful to the sensitivity of the family’s time of grief,” Peterkin said. “The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness.”
Floyd died on May 25 while in police custody in Minnesota.
Onlookers took a video showing police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck and back, while Floyd was handcuffed, for nine minutes.
In the video, Floyd was heard saying, “I can’t breathe.”
The video, and Floyd’s death, has sparked outrage and protests across the nation. It sparked members of the black community to speak out on police brutality and civil injustice.
Here in Charlotte, there have been eight straight days of protests.
Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Three other Minneapolis police officers were charged Tuesday.
All four officers were fired last week. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison.