Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Funeral: A celebration of life.

Today I attended my first funeral since Grade One. Perhaps I was too young at the time, but I remember being absolutely terrified when the casket came in.

It was my friend's father's funeral. God bless her and her family, but I'm sorry if I was disrespectful in any way.  Maybe it was a lack of knowledge and understanding, but knowing that there was a body laying inside gave my six-year-old self the skeevies.

But today, I attended the funeral of fallen Toronto officer Sgt. Ryan Russell, who was killed in the line of duty from a stolen snowplow.

Covering a solemn and serious event such as this gave me new found respect and understanding of the purpose of funerals.  Coming from as far as the United States, officers, RCMP members, public service members and citizens gathered in the Metro Convention Centre, which seated 10,000 people.

Although I didn't know the man, my heart went out to all of Russell's family, friends and colleagues. Hearing the tributes given by Vaughn MP Julian Fantino, Police Chief Bill Blair and Russell's wife Christine opened a little bit of who Sgt. Ryan Russell was as not only a police officer, but as a human being.

Seeing the amount of support from people all over North America, I realized that they had all come together not just to mourn the loss of an officer, but to celebrate his life. 

Now that I'm 18 (soon to be 19) I finally understand that. I hope we all cherish our loved ones, because one will never know what will happen.

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