Pope John Paul II was the first Pope I ever really knew. I remember vividly watching the television awaiting his election. The passing of Pope John Paul I just a few short weeks after his installment as Pope was the first realization I had that there was a Pope. Not growing up Catholic, I didn't really have a great understanding of the role of the Pope. In many ways, Pope John Paul II defined the papacy for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Although many tributes have been written about the Pope and his legacy, this one from Charles Colson is one of the best that I have read. Pope John Paul II should be remembered as the man who stood up for freedom in many places both before and after he became Pope. He will be greatly missed.