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.