Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Lovely Tribute

I was an auxiliary police officer for ten years. During that time, the thought of potential danger didn't cross my mind. I expect that regular officers don't think about it too often either, that is until something happens and a comrade is either hurt or worse, killed. Then the outpouring of sympathy, the gathering of officers from all over the continent and the massive funeral make it all too real.

We often associate news of injured and slain police with larger cities...robberies gone wrong, domestic disputes, hostage situations, a mentally unbalanced individual with a stolen snowplow or terrorist activities such as 9/11.

Sometimes, there are tragic tales from smaller, unlikely locales. Such is the story that happened here eight years ago, prior to our arrival in town.

On May 15, 2004, there was shocking news. Constable Chris Garrett had responded to a fake robbery call and had his throat slashed by a disturbed teenager who was looking to kill an officer. Despite his injuries, Garrett was able to fire shots at the youth hitting him in the leg prior to his own death. This action prevented the young man from carrying out a plot which could have resulted in a massacre. It was discovered that he had plans to bomb the police station and kill as many other officers as possible.

After 3 years, a petition, public outcries, letters to the governor general and political intervention, Officer Garrett was finally recognized for bravery and his family received the Star of Courage.

Eight years after Constable Garrett's death, May 15, 2012, the town paid him a beautiful tribute. They dedicated a lasting memorial in the form of a park bearing his name. Today, I visited the site.

Entrance to park

Lovely walkway which leads to benches, sculpture and pond

A pond with wildlife
All paths in the park lead to a sculpture of 24 birds. The creator is Gerald Gladstone and the work is entitled "Hero's Flight". The number of birds in the piece represent the day of Constable Garrett's death (numbers in the date totalled).

The town plans to celebrate and remember Constable Garrett's life at this location on the anniversary of his death every year. That way, his memory and his sacrifice will live on.

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