DC Trip 2012
On May 6 2012 at about 8:00 pm the TBL group arrived at Frankfort. We drove down to the capitol grounds and found the Historical Society building where the memorial service was going to take place the next morning. When we pulled into the parking lot we found a Frankfort officer parked in his new squad filling out paper work. We stopped and after being given permission to approach the squad the young officer proudly displayed a Thin Blue Line wrist band. He was very excited to hear our story about the TBL Memorial Vehicle and he brought the news of our arrival back to roll call at his department.
We returned to our hotel and began writing up information to be posted on our web page when I got a call from Glenda Lehmann who is the Kentucky State Auxiliary President. Her group in responsible for putting together and executing the Kentucky memorial each year and she had just completed a memorial planning meeting. During the course of our conversation we decided to meet tonight at the capitol grounds so she could show us the lay of the land.
We drove back down to the Historical building around midnight and once we were there we posted colors for her and turned on the blue LED flag pole lights and the blue halogen undercarriage lights on TBL. She was very moved by how beautiful the memorial was and she then asked me if we would be willing to lead their procession from the Historical building to their Capital building and their Law Enforcement memorial. Of course this was a great honor and privilege and we agreed to do it.
The next day we were up at 5:30 am and washed then hand dried TBL and drove back to our assigned location at the Historical building. Around 8:00 am people started showing up to include members of the seven different honor guards that were part of the procession, police officers and deputies from around the state as well as community dignitaries and clergy. All were wonderful people that care and understand what is lost when an officer is taken away.
As the time got closer to noon when the memorial started, survivors started showing up with children, parents and grandparents of the fallen officers. Because of where we had been intentionally asked to stage, everybody that arrived had a chance to view the TBL Memorial Vehicle. Invariably every person looked at the memorial and was pleased at what they saw, there were many tears and much pride and we were all humbled.
At noon the memorial started inside the Historical building. At about 12:45 people began filing out of the building and lining up behind the TBL memorial vehicle. We left the area and drove very slowly down the street with honor guards directly behind followed by a lone bag piper and then police officers and deputies, state troopers and federal officers in plane cloths and survivors including parents and children all walking together in some cases hand in hand and at the end they were followed by officers on horseback.
As the procession worked its way from the Historical building start to the Law Enforcement Memorial it only traveled three blocks, but as it moved all the people that were watching along the way stopped and either put their hands over their hearts or saluted.
When we arrived at the memorial the governor read a proclamation and there was music and a 21 gun salute to the fallen officers.
After the memorial was completed we all returned to the Historical Center and had lunch. There was an opportunity to talk to many officers, survivors and citizens. There were many photos taken of TBL and lots of conversations about how the memorial came to be. Being asked to lead this memorial procession was a huge honor and reinforces how strong the unspoken bond is between officers no matter where you are from, we always come together in times of solace.