Those of us in the Pacific Northwest, if we were able, spent most of yesterday glued to our televisions. The coverage of the 4 Lakewood officers started shortly after 9am and continued until after 5pm. The procession was so long that the service actually started an hour late. It was a very long day for the families & friends of the fallen officers as well as the thousands of fire and law enforcement personnel who traveled in from across the continent. There were over 700 Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their red uniforms as well as several hundred officers from north of the border. The runway at Mc Chord Air Force Base was the staging area for the over 2,000 vehicles that formed the procession. There were approximately 347 agencies were represented in the procession.
It was a very cold day, I doubt if it ever got much above freezing but yet thousands lined the streets as the procession slowly made it’s way the 10 miles from Mc Chord to the Tacoma Dome. I stayed home….I wasn’t brave enough to be out there with the others.
The pictures I’ve included were taken off my television. The quality is not great but will give you an idea of the magnitude of yesterday’s events.
Above the procession vehicles are lined up waiting for it start.
As the vehicles left Mc Chord they all drove under an arch provided by the Lakewood and University Place fire departments.
The procession traveled from Mc Chord Air Force base to the Lakewood Police department where it met up with the 4 white hearses carrying the fallen officers.
Above the hearses pull up in front of the Tacoma Dome. After the vehicles carrying the families arrived , the caskets were moved one by one into the Dome.
The service lasted about three hours. The local paper described it best “a ceremony to honor the fallen is steeped in tradition and symbolism.” There was a riderless horse that accompanied the lead vehicle towards the end of the procession, there were bagpipes that played “Amazing Grace” and a 21-bell salute as officers knelt near the caskets. At the end of the service the tears fell as the “last call” came across the Dome’s P.A. system. (The following is quoted out of today’s local paper) A dispatcher’s voice, authentic right down to the static, called out for each of the officers in turn, asking for their location. Getting only silence, in response, the dispatcher said “Out of service. Gone but not forgotten.”
I saw a great coming together in my community since this horrific thing happened the morning of November 29th. I hope that continues. I hope we can remember that like our military our law enforcement and fire personnel put their lives on the line everyday as they report to duty. I realize some folks have a distorted view of cops. Yes, I agree there are some bad ones, but there are also bad electricians, doctors, pilots, handymen, teachers…..there are some bad people in every walk of life. But on the whole, these officers are good people who happen to have chosen law enforcement for their profession. And when I sat and really thought about it, I don’t know why anyone would want to be a cop. It’s a very dangerous, stressful job. More than often they have to deal with the scum of the earth on a daily basis.
Like our men and women in the military, the police and fire personnel deserve our thanks for all that they do.
I pray that the families and friends of these 4 people can begin the healing process and that they can all find a little sliver of joy in the coming holiday season.
Tina, Mark, Ron and Greg……may you all rest in peace. Thank you for your dedication to Lakewood, my home town.
Tina, I will especially miss you this next spring and summer. You drove thru the park almost daily and waved and smiled as you cruised by my house.
And Greg, your birthday is the same as mine~every year from now on, I will say a special prayer for the family you left behind.