March 27th, 2009
I just spent the last four hours watching the live memorial service for the four slain Oakland police officers. Over 25K mourners attended the services. They filled the Oracle Arena and spilled over into the Coliseum. There were officers from as far away as NY, a contingent of Royal Canadian Mounties, as well as officers from every state in the union. The Arena was of sea of blue and shining brass.
The mournful sound of the bagpipes filled the Arena as each flag draped casket was brought into the flower festooned Arena followed by their grieving families. A 21 gun salute followed as an honor guard took position to watch over their fallen comrades, their heads bowed, their white gloved hands clasped before them. Every ten minutes the guard changed. Dignitaries, fellow officers and friends and family spoke. After the flag ceremony and presentation a lone bugler played taps, then the bagpipes played Amazing Grace as each casket followed by family exited the Arena. Outside there was a cannon salute, and a flyover of 20 helicopters from agencies across California. OFD mounted a flag between two hook and ladders that each hearse drove beneath to the services and back under when they left for the cemeteries. Hundreds and hundreds of motor officers along with scores of squad cars formed a formidable motorcade for each officer’s procession. Highways were shut down, airspace quieted. Civilians watched along the roads in quiet respect. Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstien and Governor Schwartzenager were in attendance and each spoke. But the truly heart breaking words came from the fallen officer’s fellow officers and family.
Amazing, heart-wrenching and poignant. I haven’t cried so long in years, hell, ever.
May the four officers rest in peace.