Paying Our Respects | Honoring Our Fallen Officers

Flags at half staff

Flags at half staff

Last week our city lost another officer in the line of duty.  Feels like this has been happening more frequently these past few years, and my heart breaks every time.  These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect our city, and all too often they don’t get the thanks and respect they deserve and have earned.  Personally, I’ve always had a great respect for the men and women who serve our community. I want to instill that respect in my children, and it’s even more important to me since we have quite a few friends and family members who serve as officers in our city.

Our home is less than 1/2 mile from a main freeway, as well as the cemetery where most of our city’s officers are buried.  Any time an officer is lost in the line of duty the service is televised, followed by a huge procession of public service vehicles to the cemetery.  Because the cemetery is so close to our home the procession goes right by our neighborhood.  Whenever we know this is happening, we’ve made it a point to go to the freeway overpass and watch the procession as it goes by, paying our respect to the family of the fallen officer as well as those in the procession who serve us daily.

This past Monday was the funeral for Officer John Hobbs, an officer of 21-years. I found out on Sunday that it would be the next day and had planned to go, but we got so caught up in school I forgot.  Thankfully I saw our neighbor’s post on FB saying she was at the overpass waiting for the procession to come by, and I was reminded we needed to head over there as well.  I rounded up the kids as quick as I could and we drove right over.  She and her family had brought a flag, purchased red, white and blue balloons, and written signs that they hung on the overpass which read, “Thank You, God Bless You”. 

photo credit: abc15.com

photo credit: abc15.com

There were other people there with flags; The turnout of people to pay their respects was overwhelming. The overpass we were on was filled with people.  Being there to pay our respects was humbling enough, but standing next to those signs as the procession came by, waving and watching my kids wave to the officers, having officers wave back, turn on their sirens or flash their headlights at us in response was even more humbling. I was honored to be there to offer my support and show my thankfulness to those officers.

Motorcycle processionTears started to flow as I watched the procession begin with tons of motorcycle officers- I wasn’t the only one either; there were others around me who kept wiping their eyes and sniffling. 

hearseThe tears continued as the hearse passed by and memories flooded my mind of the last time I stood on that overpass next to my brother- also an officer- and watched him stand at attention and salute the hearse as it drove by.  More tears as multiple limousines carrying his family and friends followed, thinking of his wife and 3 children- the same age as my oldest 3- knowing they’d never see their hero again.

processionCar after car after car of officers followed- officers from all over our state- and then fire trucks from departments all over the state.  The procession was over 11 miles long, and we stood there and watched and waved the entire time.

fire truck procession

Fellow officer on duty who stopped quickly to watch the procession.

Fellow officer on duty who stopped quickly to watch the procession.

I don’t think we can ever do enough to show our thankfulness, but I was glad to do what little bit I could.  I pray never to have to be on the other end of this, riding in one of the cars behind the hearse of one of my loved ones watching the community pay their respects, but know I’d be thankful to see the support of our community.

For a small look into what the family of Officer Hobbs and fellow officers were met with by the community, take a look at this video (we are at 2:50 to the left of the ‘Thank You’ sign; this video must have been earlier in the procession, because by the time the hearse drove by the bridge was elbow to elbow).

Comments

  1. It’s such a hard thing. I thank god every day that my husband just retired from the USAF, especially with all the turmoil going on overseas.

  2. It is so wonderful that so much support was shown. You’re right though, that’s never, never easy.

  3. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I’m sorry for your city’s loss!! Thanks for recognizing this officer’s hard work and life!

  4. It is always so sad when we lose a police officer or firefighter. I have a few friends on the police force here in Miami and I worry about them all of the time!

  5. joanna garcia says:

    OMG so young too! These men and women are so brave and to put their life in harms way to serve and protect us all! that is great what you and others did that day. more people should do that!

  6. joanna garcia says:

    like the Black Camellia Duffle Bag

  7. The pictures gave me chills.. as in sad chills. I love how a city comes together to support the heroes our city.

  8. This is so sad and so moving all at the same time. These men and women risk their lives every day for us. But, I am in awe of the respect shown when an officer falls in the line of duty. We should support them every other day as much.

  9. This is so sad, but a beautifully written post.

  10. Wow – powerful images. It is a good thing that your community came together to show support.

  11. There is such a debt owed to military families. I would never sacrifice the time with my families they do in order to serve. The debt is owed to the people in the military and to the families they leave behind.

  12. This is so sad and I always feel so terrible when an officers dies in the line of duty. You really captured some great images.

  13. So sad πŸ™ This brought tears to my eyes πŸ™ What a beautiful procession though~

  14. When I worked at the newspaper, I was on the journalist side of covering the funerals and it was so hard. Especially when the officer or military person was close to my age (or younger.) My heart goes out to this officer’s family.

  15. I can’t even imagine but I love that the community has come together. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone.

  16. It’s so important for communities to come together in times of sorrow. What a wonderful tribute.

  17. Beautifully written! A cop in my town was recently “kidnapped” and murdered. It was horrible. πŸ™

  18. I am so sorry for the loss in your community. Its tragic when these things happen. I am so glad you did a nice tribute.

  19. It is so sad that a tragic event like this has to bring everyone out together in honor and solidarity. Men and women like him put their lives on the line everyday for us – we have to show our respect and honor for their choices. What a lovely tribute,

  20. Tearing up here. It’s such a thankless job. It’s great that your family makes it a point to let them know you appreciate the sacrifice that just happened.

  21. I’m not even from your area and the support that your community gave this fallen police officer had my tears flowing freely. My heart and prayers go out to the family of the officer.

  22. These things always absolutely breaks my heart. What an phenomenal sense of community though.

  23. I’m sorry to hear of the fallen officer- but I LOVE the respect your community showed him and his family (as it should be). We definitely should take more time to honor and respect those that serve our country!

  24. What a nice tribute. It’s very sad that things happen like this, but great that the community can come together and honor people too.

  25. What a powerful post. Our community heroes deserve so much respect for doing what they do. A sad day but the officer’s family should be proud of such an honorable officer!

  26. There is no way to say thank you enough. This is a lovely gesture.

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