*By Leah Anaya, CLW Member and Contributing Writer
Earlier this week, I was a part of the processional for fallen Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Brown, riding in my husband’s police car to escort the deputy’s body to his funeral. Unfortunately, this was not my first rodeo: I’ve been to many a police funeral and I know what to expect from them.
But one thing I did not expect, however, was to see the amount of love, honor, and support present for the entire 16.4-mile drive.
We arrived at the staging area several hours before we would actually begin the drive. We drank coffee, talked with other officers, and tried to keep our spirits up while we waited.
While standing around, another officer came up and told us about the possibility of a guy showing up posing as an officer with the intent of shooting at police, with his desired outcome of committing “suicide by cop.”
Great, like the day wasn’t hard enough.
Then there was the (I presume) meth’ed out turd riding his bike, holding up what I can only assume is his government-bought cell phone in a recording fashion, telling every officer he saw exactly what he thought of them (spoiler alert: they weren’t nice things).
While those things both sucked, they weren’t surprising.
But then, it was time to head out. We all got in our respective cars and started to make the journey.
The first thing I saw when we pulled out of the parking lot was a woman holding a thin blue line flag high and proud with her left hand, while holding her right hand over her heart.
Next I saw a pickup truck parked with a mom, a dad, and children in the bed. The mother was crying and wiping her eyes. The father was comforting her and saluting the police cars driving by. The children were waving small thin blue line flags.
The water works started, and they didn’t end anytime soon.
Because for most of the entirety of that journey, I saw more people than I could count standing up to show respect for our police, and to honor Deputy Brown. I saw signs reading things like, “Back the Blue,” and “Thank You.” I saw American flags and thin blue line flags (because normal people know that the thin blue line isn’t a racist flag and has nothing to do with anyone but our fallen law enforcement officers). I saw men holding their hats over their hearts, women crying, children waving, men saluting.
Cars were pulled over and parked on the side of the freeway (in both directions) with people standing up to show respect. Almost every off ramp, on ramp, or area butting up to businesses or neighborhoods along the freeway had at least a small group of people standing there holding their tokens of honor.
There were even people standing on rooftops holding signs and flags.
The freeway overpasses were FILLED with people- fire engines, police cars, ambulances, and dozens of civilians at every pass.
Several businesses had changed their marquees to display condolences.
In one word, it was incredible. In more words, it was humbling, beautiful, moving, breathtaking.
Every day something happens to let police know that there are people out there who flat out hate them. Every day someone attacks police- physically or verbally- somewhere in this nation (and in this state, and in every county or city). But on this day, even though the reason for being there was horrid and devastating, the display was something that I hope to never forget.
I think it’s so important for those people- the people who are waving flags, holding their hearts, honoring their men and women servants in law enforcement, praying for their officers, dropping off donations to precincts, or even just saying “thank you” or smiling to a passing officer- know how appreciated all that support is.
Please believe me when I say it’s more appreciated than I can express.
Please don’t reserve that display of support only for when an officer loses his life in the line of duty. Especially at a time like this when politicians, activists, and the media are so heavily villainizing the police.
Please don’t be silenced by the people out there who want to scare you into keeping your mouth shut.
It’s too important that the police- and those against them- know that you support them, just like the police support all of you.
We see you, police supporters.
We hear you.
We value you.
And we- the officers, their spouses, their children, their families who kiss them goodbye with no guarantee that they’ll come home at the end of their shift- love you.