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'His legacy lives on': Daniel Morcombe finally laid to rest

An undated photo of Daniel Morcombe © AAP.
Nine years to the day since Daniel Morcombe went missing, his family has finally laid him to rest.
Since the 13-year-old disappeared in 2003, Daniel's parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe haven't tired in their perseverance to find Daniel, and since an arrest was made over the matter in August last year, to find his remains and bury him peacefully.
The blue-eyed Sunshine Coast boy whose smiling face has become one of Australia's most recognised, thanks to his parents effort in bringing him home and campaigning for child safety, would celebrate his 23rd birthday in two weeks.
He was honoured in a public funeral today, attended by thousands of students and staff from the high school he went to.
The Morcombes were adamant the moving ceremony would be a celebration of Daniel's legacy rather than an outpouring of grief.
"Please do not be sad," Mr Morcombe said.
"Appreciate that what happened, happened a long time ago. Today is about embracing his return to family and being reflective of what might have been said.
"Do we dwell on what we have lost or accept the space we are in and find some positives?
"He may no longer be with us but Daniel's legacy lives on. The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is committed to doing all we can to ensure this never happens again by educating children on ways to keep safe and supporting young victims of crime."
Daniel's older brother Dean reflected on happy times the family spent together.
Speaking on behalf of his younger brother Bradley, Daniel's twin, Dean said they were great friends.
"They shared many secrets. Living on acreage we had a few ponies and they would ride their favourites — Bullet and Sorrento," Dean said.
"They were great friends, often getting into mischief or blaming each other as the reason why their room was so untidy. What are brothers for?"
In an emotional tribute, Christmas presents Daniel never had the chance to open were placed on his casket along with his year nine report card which he did not see as it arrived the day after Daniel disappeared, before the casket was carried out by Daniel's brothers and other family members.
In an interview with The Australian Women's Weekly, Bradley said the most important thing to the family was to find Daniel and bring him home, as they have finally done.
"The hardest thing has been not knowing what happened to him," he said.
"We want to bring him home, to give him the respect and dignity that he deserves.
"It means everything. We've been waiting nine years."

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