As we pulled into the school I asked the city workers who were parked at the entrance what was happening. They informed me that the funeral procession for the local police officer who was killed in the line of duty was to start at any moment and told me good luck in finding a way to get home. When we walked inside I heard the school bus drivers talking. They told me which route the procession was planned to take and gave me advice on an alternate route home. God bless bus drivers.
It turned out we were able to get home without incident and along the way I saw that the fire department had raised the ladders on two of their trucks and hung an American flag between them so the procession would pass underneath it. I instantly decided to run through the Wendy's drive-thru, pick up two happy meals (I know happy meals are from McDonald's but what are they called at Wendy's?), and take the boys to watch. I figured they might like to see all the police cars.
terrible iphone photos, but you get the idea
They ate their lunch peacefully, excited about seeing the fire trucks and their tall ladders up close. And then we starting waiting. And we waited and waited. And waited. We waited close to two hours. Honestly, the boys didn't seem to mind. Honestly, I didn't mind either. For whatever reason, I just felt like we were supposed to wait. We played around outside. When we got cold we warmed up inside our car. I then began to notice...the longer we waited the more people showed up to wait with us. The longer we waited the more I realized it wasn't excitement I was feeling. The longer we waited the more I got to talk to the boys about what we were waiting for, why we were there, how to show respect toward those who serve, why that's important. The longer we waited the more my heart hurt for the wife who lost her husband, the kids who lost their dad, and the brotherhood who lost one of their own.
When the procession finally passed by us the firemen stood in solidarity along both sides of the road, civilians stood solemnly with hats in hand, and with tears streaming down my cheeks I hugged my boys close.
I was thankful we had a firsthand view of such a memorable occasion. It was incredible to feel a sense of togetherness - a city united, a people in support of one another - especially after a time of divisiveness in our nation.
I hope those who viewed it from behind black tinted limousine windows were able to soak in what a special moment it was too.