Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Hero's Final Goodbye

About two weeks ago a city policeman in our town was shot in the line of duty. Yesterday was his funeral and it was the major news story of the day. I had no idea that I would get to witness a part of his service.

I stayed at school a little later than usual for a Friday. I always drive home the same way, and I was a little surprised to see a few police cars and a firetruck parked on the bridge that I drive on to get to the interstate. I didn't put it together until I got on the interstate, and just up ahead, I could see traffic coming from the other direction had stopped. I could see tons of blue lights. I looked back at the bridge and could see that there were several policemen and firefighters, in full dress uniform, standing on the bridge, facing in the direction of the stopped traffic. That's when I realized....this was the funeral motorcade for the fallen officer.

I immediately pulled onto the emergency lane and watched. For several minutes, I saw just a few random cars drive by. I guess these were the last cars to get out of the way so the funeral procession could begin. I had never seen one of these before, except the brief footage they would show on TV.

First came a single police car, with blue lights flashing. Then there were at least 30-40 policemen on motorcycles, riding in pairs, with blue lights flashing. Then came the funeral hearse, a white one, carrying the body of this fallen officer. Then were several family cars, also white. After that began an endless parade of police cars. I counted at least 150 before I lost count. They all had their blue lights flashing. As I watched, more and more cars pulled over, on both sides of the interstate. People who parked on the grassy median even got out of their cars, hands on their hearts. Some cars almost came to a stop in the middle of the interstate. I've never seen anything like this. It was very somber, very moving, and ingrained in my mind forever.

I am so glad that I worked later on Friday. I was able to witness a part of this final goodbye for a local hero. A man who was simply doing his job, protecting the citizens of my town. We should pray for the policemen, firefighters, emergency service workers, and military men and women who are daily putting their lives on the line for us citizens.


Kim said...

I imagine that was something to witness in person. It was touching to watch it on TV. His funeral was a powerful presentation of the gospel.

This tragedy has brought to light how much we need to pray for our public servants and the families that stand behind them.

Diane Teague said...

Let us never forget that these men and women put their lives on the line everyday for us. Let us not forget to pray for them. Thank you for reminding us.

Andrea said...

i was able to watch the entire footage on WXII and alex sat on my lap and watched it with me. she didn't say one word the whole time, we both just sat there. i had explained to her what had happened and i think she was just as sad as i was. we were also able to catch the end of his funeral service and was able to see one of my dear friends on TV. as i sat there and watched the motorcade i noticed just how many people got out of their cars to pay their respects, but unfortunately i noticed several cars still driving. i hope that these cars eventually realized what was going on and pulled over or atleast came to a stop.

the most touching thing that i saw on tv was the horse without a rider. the horse was so symbolic and it actually brought tears to my eyes. may we never forget the many men and women who protect us by putting their lives in danger everyday!

Jennifer said...

I just came across your blog and read this must live near me..I watched all the footage on tv of the funeral and everything. Im in sad all of it was watching it but also I felt grateful for the police and all other service men who get out there and risk there lives for us!!