On Friday May 8, 2009, I was privileged to attend the California Peace Officers Memorial in Sacramento, CA. Myself and my motor partner whom I've worked the last 10 to 11 years with met up at a breakfast joint in Vacaville. That was our meeting point with the 6 strong motor unit from an adjoining Police Department.
So while we ate our hearty breakfasts' we noticed a Lieutenant, Sergeant and two Officers approaching the front door of the establishment. The front door happened to have some dark tint on it as one of the motor officers quickly went to the door and locked it. We all had a good laugh at their expense as they thought the business was closed (with a full parking lot) and turned to walk away. Of course we unlocked the door so they could have their fill of good food. Even on such a day, leave it to the motor officers to keep the humor going.
While I sat there eating my breakfast I could hear that familiar sound of "rolling thunder" as I watched groups of motor officers riding eastbound towards the State Capitol.
After breakfast we rode on I-80 eight deep making our own rolling thunder as car after car moved to the right to allow us to pass.
I along with my Sergeant and fellow motor partners met up at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento. At 9:00 AM sharp, the procession of police motorcycles and police vehicles began the slow ride / drive to the State Capitol. The police agencies who provide the traffic breaks to allow us an uninterrupted ride to the Capitol building always do an awesome job.
To see people standing along the streets with American flags, and signs of "thanks" as we slowly rode into downtown Sacramento is always an impressive sight. The mounted officers on horses were a sight to behold as we rode by.
Once arrived at the Memorial, our motors parked in neat rows we always bump into fellow colleagues whom we haven't seen for a while. It's kinda sad that on such a day old acquaintances and friendships are renewed.
The pipe and drum band began to play as we were all lined up along the walkway of the Capitol building. To see the family members of the fallen Officers being escorted by their fallen spouses Police Agency is somber. To watch their children be so strong and brave as they walk down with their parent, many wearing a Medal of Valor awarded to their fallen parent really brings home the sacrifice which these Officers made.
There walks a child who will miss all those memorable and important moments which would have been shared. As I watch this, I can feel a lump in my throat as I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache felt.
The fallen Officers names are read and added to the Memorial. I can hear the bagpipes playing Amazing Grace followed by the bugles playing Taps and then the 21 gun salute. We truly stand on hallowed ground as we honor the fallen Officers, their families, police agencies and friends.
As I stood there, I thought what a wonderful world it would be if we never added another fallen Officer's name to the Memorial, but thats not the world we live in. Hell I'd settle for just one year we didn't have to add someones name. It's too bad we live in a world where predators take advantage of the law abiding.....
....but thank god we have dedicated professionals who are willing to put themselves between those who need protecting from those who willingly do harm.