Dave’s memorial service was held yesterday. It was everything a memorial service should be.
For starters, it was a packed zoo, with far more people in that large church than the Fire Marshall would ever have allowed; standing room only, with an overflow out into the lobby and entrance hall; so many cars over-crammed into the parking lot that some people, including Dave’s daughter, Kristi, just gave up and parked illegally out on the street.
It was, as a memorial service should be, a time of joyous and sentimental remembrance, laughter and tears pooled in the stories and anecdotes, the memories, the photographs projected on the screens of a beloved and doting father, son, husband in all his various manifestations: dentist, gold miner, hunter, indulgent grandfather, superman, baseball player, coach, rancher, fisherman, and—perhaps most remarkably—in one photograph as a giant painted doll playing happily with his children amid among real childhood toys. He looked like something out of a Renaissance festival pageant.
Boxes of tissue passed from hand to hand along with the quiet memories shared during hugs of friends unseen for a long time, along with the sudden bursts of laughter at this memory or that, the chatter of voices, smiles and waves across the room.
But I want to tell you of the golden moment that represents the best of America. Dave’s oldest son, Jason, was speaking, and he introduced Sheriff Donny Youngblood, the man who spearheaded the manhunt for those dreadful eighteen days; Lead Homicide Detective Juan Trevino, who did so much, above and beyond the call of duty, for Dave’s family; and wounded SWAT officer Michael Booker, all of whom were there among the mourners.
Think about that for a moment. Three tired professionals, who for almost three weeks had done little else but push themselves to the limit in their efforts to catch Dave’s killer, all of whom have their own families and their own much deserved need for rest, and yet there they were, on a Sunday when they might legitimately have wanted to recharge their batteries and spend time with their loved ones, offering sympathy and support at Dave’s memorial.
And when those three officers were introduced, the entire body of mourners stood and gave them a prolonged standing ovation. They didn’t rise in sequence, inspired by a single person; instead the entire crowd rose as one to pay their respects and express their gratitude.
We need more police protests like that.