In a touching new interview, Tracy Martin shared some of his best moments with Trayvon before his death, and even described a time when his son saved his life.
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Tracy spoke about how Trayvon was his best friend from the moment he could walk, while also reminiscing about the countless times Trayvon rode on the back of his father's motorcycle.
Tracy recalls, "Trayvon loved riding on the motorcycle with me." He had been teaching his son to ride, but while returning home to Miami Gardens, Trayvon asked to test his highway skills for the first time on Florida's Turnpike.
"He just kept telling me, 'I can drive, I can drive,'" Martin said.
According to Tracy, it was a proud moment for him; Trayvon was taking another step towards adulthood.
Those are the moments Tracy remembers the most:
"It's moments like that that the public doesn't know. Those were the kinds of things that I look back on and I can smile."
On Thursday in Birmingham, Ala., Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton; and family attorney Benjamin Crump attended a march in the slain teen's honor.
The couple, who divorced in 1999, say they remained friends after their separation, recognizing their son needed both parents. But Trayvon's shooting death in late February at the hands of George Zimmerman "has brought us closer," Tracy said.
More than ever, "we need to lean on each other. We know we need each other to get us through this."
Tracy remembered a time when in 2004, Trayvon rescued him from a house fire after he fell asleep while food was cooking on the stove. Without Trayvon's help, he says, he would have died. But the close bond with Trayvon that others have described began long before that, he said.
Before all of the media and public attention, the death of Trayvon went largely unnoticed locally. Then, Tracy Martin, a Miami native who has been a driver for Sysco Corp. for more than a decade, reached out to his sister-in-law, who is a lawyer.
She got in touch with Tallahassee attorney Benjamin Crump, who now represents the Martin family. Crump said that at his first meeting with Tracy Martin, the teen's father was "a defeated man."
"It was really the hopelessness in his eyes," Crump said.
The overwhelming support at rallies and protests has given Martin and Fulton hope, Crump said. Martin still breaks down describing the day he found out about his son's death, but Crump said the despondency of that first meeting has only returned once.
"The only real time that I saw that look of hopelessness on Tracy was at [shooter George Zimmerman's] bond hearing" last month, Crump said.
Zimmerman took the witness stand and delivered an apology to Trayvon's parents; Martin was distraught, Crump recalled.
Several family friends who have spoken publicly since the shooting detailed Martin's relationship with his son and his presence in Trayvon's life, taking him fishing and attending football games and practices.
"Just seeing your child grow up in general is very important. That was real important to me. Trayvon has been, so to speak, my best friend since the time he could walk."
The bond that father and son share is unbreakable and even though Trayvon is gone, Tracy is making sure is name lives on.