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Service celebrated faith, life of drowning victim

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius on July 21 to honor the short but dynamic life of Anna Wright, 17, of Jamesville. Wright drowned less than a week before on July 15 while swimming with friends near Southwick Beach in Jefferson County. Her body was found two days later, just a short distance from where the actual tragedy occurred.

Family and friends, wearing solemn expressions and tear-stained cheeks, listened intently to various Bible verses, personal tributes, and special musical arrangements, one of which was given by her sister Kristin and her brother Daniel. Kristen played the piano while Daniel sang the lyrics to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." A chorus of kids also sang "In Christ Alone" -- a song Anna and her friends sang along the beach soon before trouble surmounted on the shores.

The service emphasized Anna's Christian faith, her profound love for Jesus, and the family's acceptance of God's will even in the midst of darkness.

"She loved Jesus and was learning from Him to grow in her love and compassion," her obituary stated. "This is a source of great comfort and hope to her loved ones who miss her so very deeply."

A display of pictures and written quotes from loved ones illustrated the person she was -- "giving, loving, compassionate" -- and the kind of life she lived: "Anna, I never knew how big an impact one little girl could have on hundreds of people. I miss you so much already and every time I see a tear fall from someone's eyes, I smile inside 'cause I know how much you are loved. Love you Anna, thanks for leaving a legacy."

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