Minnesotans observed a moment of silence starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday lasting 8 minutes and 46 minutes in memory of George Floyd, the man whose death after being detained by police in Minneapolis has reverberated around world.

The observance followed Gov. Tim Walz’s proclamation issued earlier on Tuesday, the same day that the 46-year-old Floyd was being remembered at his funeral starting at 11 a.m. in Houston, which is where he spent most of his life.

The length of time designated by the governor represents how long now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin used a knee to pin Floyd by the neck on the pavement at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue on May 25. Floyd died soon afterward.

Walz’s declaration said the moment of silence was not only to honor Floyd but also “the lives of every person cut short due to systems of racism and discrimination in Minnesota.”

That length of time made for an especially emotional experience for many who attended a memorial service for Floyd on Thursday at North Central University in Minneapolis.

Near the end of the ceremony, the Rev. Al Sharpton urged the gathering to stand for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

As soft keyboard music filled the space, tears streamed down the mourners’ faces. A man blurted out, “I can’t breathe.” Another man fell to his knees in grief. Family members hugged each other gently.

Staff writer Pam Louwagie contributed to this report.