Jan. 24th, 2008

elena23: (cop)
Yesterday was the large memorial service for both officers. For photographs and news stories see ajc.com or myfoxatlanta.com. It was an amazing sight. There were some things I really appreciated and some things I found to be...distracting, I suppose. I'll go through it all.

We gathered at South DeKalb Mall, off Flat Shoals and I-20, for the motorcade to Newbirth (which is in Lithonia, off Evans Mill Road). At one point, while on the Interstate, I found myself at the crest of a hill. As far as I could see in front of me, and as far back behind me as I could see in my rearview mirror, were blue lights. The Interstate was shut down, and there were people out of their vehicles standing and watching on all of the entrance ramps and bridges -- many of them were waving or saluting, and even the construction workers were standing by with their hard hats over their hearts. There were firemen at every bridge saluting. The motorcade had officers from all over the State of Georgia and even some agencies outside of Georgia. It was truly amazing.

When I was already on Evans Mill Road, I heard over the radio that the last car had just gotten on the Interstate back at Flat Shoals. The means that the motorcade was about 8 miles long...imagine looking on eight miles of bumper-to-bumper police cards with their blue lights on, traveling down the highway.  

At the funeral, I got pointed at and told to move to fill in a gap near the front of the church. As a result, I ended up sitting in the fourth row in the exact middle of the church. The three rows in front of me contained Captains, Majors, and Chiefs. The rows behind me contained Lieutenants and Sergeants. To my left were five County Commissioners. It's a good thing I didn't have to get up to pee. 

Some parts of the service were very moving. When the Chief presented the badges of the officers to the widows, it was hard to watch. Looking around and seeing literally thousands of officers was breathtaking. The singing was outstanding, especially the Sheriff's Officer who got up to sing. The family members who got up to speak, even if they did not do so quite as eloquently as the practiced politicians, were genuine and hearbreaking. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, and that's something to say for a church full of police officers. Even the honor guard were wiping their eyes. 

Some parts of the service were distracting and political. I didn't care for the ego stroking and thanking. The focus should have remained on the officers and their families. While I have been told that he is a sincere and prayerful person, the ostentatious presentation of "Bishop" Eddie Long (and by that I mean his person -- the purple robes, cashmere stole, diamond rings, gem-encrusted cross, versace-type glasses etc.) really put me off. His speaking was fine, but he was introduced as "God's angel on earth," a title which I found ridiculous. 

After the service, we lined up outside while they brought the coffins out to the hearse. We saluted the fallen officers while the helicopters did a fly-over. The part that really got to me was the radio traffic afterwards:

Radio Operator:     Radio to Badge #X and #Y, please respond.

Radio Operator:     Radio to Badge #X and #Y, please respond.


Supervisor:    Radio, be advised, Officer Barker, Badge #X and Officer Bryant, Badge #Y are 10-42 [off-duty] for the duration.

Radio Operator:     All units 10-3 [maintain radio silence] for Officers Barker and Bryant. 

Oh, that radio traffic was pretty tough. I'm crying now, just typing it out. The motorcade left the church headed for the burial sites. The situation was the same on the Interstate, with citizens and firemen. We passed by a school next to the church where a bunch of little children (elementary age) were outside waving and holding signs that said, "You are in our prayers," and "We support you."

After two days of funerals and memorial services, I'm wiped out. I don't think I have a whole lot left to give this week. I'm going to try and work my cases and just be quiet.


elena23: (Default)

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