Thursday's funeral for Philando Castile brought a broad cross-section of friends and strangers alike who wanted to pay their respects. Here they are, in their words:

Toni Jefferson, St. Paul — "It wasn't a question in my mind" about taking the day off work from U.S. Bank to attend the services, she said. Jefferson's mother is a longtime friend of Castile's family. As she watched the procession, she said she already had an outfit picked out for the funeral, which had special meaning to her — a pink top and floral skirt she got for her birthday. "The life he had was a beautiful life. To celebrate, I want to wear colors."

Bobby Jefferson, St. Paul — The father of Toni Jefferson said the events surrounding Castile's death remind him of the racial tensions he experienced while growing up in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Jefferson said he approached the day with the anxiety of a father. "I worry all the time. I got sons. It could have been anybody."

Mike Whalen, St. Paul — Whalen, who is white, said people like him "have an obligation" to pay their respects when something like this happens. He rode his bike to the funeral home from his own home a couple of blocks away.

"I would have gone any place that he was going," Whalen said. "He shouldn't have died. He shouldn't have been murdered.

As the family gathered outside, Whalen gripped his bicycle's handle bars tighter. When they brought the white casket out and loaded it onto the horse-drawn carriage, he began to cry.

Elen Bahr, St. Paul — Bahr came to the cathedral with her dog, Raja, a Great Pyrenees who laid down in front of the cathedral steps.

"He carries peace with him," she said. She was on her morning walk and didn't plan to stay for the funeral, but wanted to show her support.

"We need to get to a point as a community that it doesn't take a tragedy to bring us together," she said.

Anderson Cielto and daughter, Sophie, 10, St. Paul — Sophie went to kindergarten at J.J. Hill and remembers Castile. So does her older brother. They were reminded of the memorial service when they heard helicopters, and jumped on their bikes. Anderson grabbed his suit to wear, but decided it would take too long to get ready.

"I knew it was important to come just as I am and pay my respects," he said.

After visitation, they left the cathedral. They planned to visit the J.J. Hill event later that day.

John Quarles, Vadnais Heights — A Coast Guard veteran who is black, Quarles has lived in Minnesota since 1987. He kept a careful eye on the line as it grew, curving around the front of the cathedral and slowly advancing up the steps. "This shows me people still care," he said. "Everybody can run out in droves to see Prince. We need to do the same here."

As a veteran, he said, he finds Castile's death and those like it troubling. "I don't expect our people to die in the streets," he said.

Derrick Sanders and daughter Amore'A, almost 2 — "I decided to bring her because even though she may not remember, one day she'll understand," he said.

Amore'A, wearing a red skirt and Minnie Mouse shirt, toddled in the grass outside the cathedral.

"I'm a dad and this is my baby, but it could have been me," he said.