Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Day in Pictures

by Annette Dashofy

I thought I'd share some of the photographs I took to document my day last Thursday. Many of you may have watched the news footage of the memorial service for Pittsburgh's fallen heroes, but these are snapshots from a simple volunteer on the street.

My Citizen's Police Academy Alumni group was told to meet at 8AM at Heinz Field. I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to be doing. Turns out, we were directing the incoming police vehicles from all across the country into different parking lots according to whether they were just going to the service at the Petersen's Event Center or whether they were going to one of the graveside services, as well.

This is one of the lots early on.

There were an incredible number of motorcycles, too. At one point, two officers with less dressy uniforms, obviously from a smaller department checked out the bikes and where they were from and I overheard one say to the other, "Even THEY have a motorcycle!"

Motorcycle envy?

This is the Allegheny County Police Memorial with three wreaths and pictures of our heroes: Stephen Mayhle, Paul Sciullo II, and Eric Kelly.

This is part of the line of police vehicles coming into the Heinz Field parking lot.

Once our job was done, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police provided a bus to take us to the memorial service. We made it out of the parking lot ahead of everyone else and were feeling quiet pleased with ourselves for getting onto the highway and into Oakland before the roads were closed to traffic. We slipped into the lanes that were being barracaded for the processional and buzzed past miles of traffic gridlock.
Then the bus broke down. In the middle of the procession route. We debated about pushing it, but eventually we abandoned ship once the driver assured us a tow truck was in route.
This is the last we saw of that bus:
We made our way on foot up the long climb to the Petersen. It was a lovely day for a walk. Once there, we settled in to watch officers from all across the US and Canada arrive. They hiked up the same hill we did.

Once they arrived, they started filling in the steps in front of the Petersen.

These guys were with the New Jersey State Police and were SHARP in their pale blue dress uniforms.

More officers and more officers made their way up the hill and up the steps.
Then came three riderless horses:

All officers stood at attention and saluted as the hearses carrying the heroes drove past.
This was my view from inside. Not the close-ups provided by the TV crews, but an awe inspiring overview of the police brotherhood.

I was grateful for the chance to help and to be part of such a day. And I pray we never have to experience anything like it again.


Tory said...

Very moving, Annette! I love your photos.

Annette said...

Thanks, Tory. That morning, I was hesitant to take my camera, fearing it might be disrespectful. But everyone, including 90 percent of the cops there had cameras and were photographing the event, too.

Joyce said...

Thanks for giving us your perspective. It's too bad that this had to happen for the public to finally realize the danger that police officers risk on a daily basis.

Jennie Bentley said...

Dammit, you made me cry. Wonderful that you were able to be a part of it, Annette; it must have been a very special experience. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

Annette said...

Jennie, the part that completely got to me was something I couldn't manage to post here. The pipe and drum corp that escorted each casket into the Event Center was absolutely AWESOME. I did video part of it just before my battery died. The picture quality is lousy, but the audio part of it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

And when they played Amazing Grace at the end of the service...I was a basket case.

It was a very powerful day and I'm so grateful to have been part of it.

L.J. Sellers said...

Incredibly sad day. Great photo journalism.

Kristine said...

Annette, your photos are wonderful. I can just imagine how moving it was for you to be there. I watched most of it on TV and was brought to tears.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Donnell said...

Oh, Annette. Thank you. The three riderless horses really brought this tragedy home for me, and I too pray we never see anything like this again. My heart goes out to Pittsburgh and to the families, friends and police officers for their loss.

Annette said...

Donnell, the riderless horses got to me, too.

And thanks to all for you kind comments on my photography. It was crowded and the sun was so bright that I couldn't see the screen on my digital camera, so I was aiming and crossing my fingers when I snapped most of those pictures at the Petersen.

queenofmean said...

It has been a terrible 2 weeks in Pittsburgh. I drive by the Zone 5 station everyday on my way home from work. As I head down Washington Blvd, I (almost without thinking about it) shut off my radio as I drive past & think about the officers (the ones that died and the ones still doing what needs done each day). I still get that sick feeling in my stomach whenever I think about the families, esp. the children.
Your pictures were great. It must have been difficult actually being there. I cried through a lot of it just watching on television.