I attended a funeral for a fallen officer today. I wasn’t planning on attending, although I had heard of the tragic death of this thirty year old man while on duty. I was taken by the phrase, End of Watch-March 29, 2017, which was placed on a photo of this man in uniform, with our city in the background.
We all have an End of Watch in our future.
Today, for a few brief hours, I sat among 5,000+ family, friends, fellow officers from all around the country, and concerned and caring citizens of this city we call home. It was moving in so many ways.
The reason I attended is because this funeral was held in the church I attend and work. It is part of my job description to assist in special events, and this one required a lot of help! I was fortunate enough to sit and listen to this young man being honored by his chief, fellow platoon members and our mayor.
Someone I didn’t know personally but whose life and service has impacted me in such a way.
We who work here, couldn’t help but to pause and pay homage to the casket which arrived the night before, draped with an American flag, in the almost-dark and quiet room. A lone officer dutifully watching. He was never left alone after being placed in the casket. An officer sat with him the entire time until the final good-byes could be said.
We who are on staff at this church couldn’t help but to stop and pay respects as a few dozen fellow-servants made a formation for the casket of the fallen officer into the sanctuary.
We couldn’t stop the tears gathering in our eyes as we gazed upon the young wife and mother to a two year old son and a one month old daughter.
We couldn’t choke back the tears as we viewed the life of this man being played out with photos on a screen, not just a faithful servant of our city, but that of a son, a brother, husband, father and so much more.
We couldn’t help but to stop as we heard the bagpipes being played proceeding the exodus of the family and the casket, walking silently through the formation of officers, as the group made their way to the hearse.
We couldn’t help but to stand at the window, our eyes fixed upon the two fire trucks, ladders raised toward each other, with an American flag connecting them, waving proudly in the sky.
The dedication and devotion to each other, those who serve our cities and nation, is something to behold. Each of them knowing as they serve their comrade one last time, they too will have an End of Watch.
That’s how life is designed. It has a beginning and an End of Watch.
I pay tribute today to all those who serve, but especially to Police officer Nick Rodman and his family. May you rest in peace, Officer Rodman. Thank you for your service.
End of Watch-March 29, 2017.
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