I was actually running on time to pick up my kids from school today, which is something of a miracle because, well, let's just say I'm not known for showing up on time regularly for most things. I'm working on that. I still ended up at the school 20 minutes late for what is normally an 11 minute ride (assuming I hit the lights right and I don't go more than 10 over the speed limit).
I was late because I was stopped by Deputy Frank Fabiano's funeral procession.
Deputy Fabiano was shot on the 17th in what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop. The man who shot him was an illegal alien who apparently had been arrested in the past but had not been deported. Police caught him about three hours later, still armed, in a parking lot of an apartment complex filled with college students.
The fire trucks were blocking off the intersection that I approached in order to allow the procession to pass in safety and honor the slain deputy. I arrived just as the procession started, so I was able to watch as hundreds of police cars from across the country formed the honor guard that accompanied the hearse. Police lights flashed, and American flags fluttered as they drove by. Several helicopters flew up and down the route, following the huge stream of cars. I had seen this on TV when a Chicago officer had been killed in the line of duty, but I never saw anything like it up close like this. It was a heart-breaking, solemn honor.
It was a beautiful, warm day for such a sad occasion. It seems to me funerals should always be accompanied by rain, like angels are shedding tears for the departed one. Instead, God smiled and the sun shone joyfully, as if to let the the family know that heaven was brightened by Fabiano coming home.
People crowded the corners and sidewalks to pay their respects. The police officers and firemen controlling the intersection stood at attention in their dark dress uniforms as the long line of vehicles passed. Some of the people in the cars that were stopped around me actually got out to honor the deputy. It took 25 minutes for the entire procession to go by, a testament to just how special people thought this man was.
He left behind a wife and seven-year-old daughter. I'm glad that so many officers, family, and friends came from so many different places to show them how much his--and their--sacrifice means to all of us.