Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In Memory of RCMP Constable Doug Scott

It was a sombre day today in our town. Today was the funeral of RCMP Constable Doug Scott, 20 years old, shot and killed on duty in the small northern community of Kimmirut. Thousands of police officers of every kind descended upon our fair town to pay their respects to the Scott family.

Since the kids and I have been discussing this tragedy, I though we would attend the police procession and part of the funeral. It was a beautiful fall day which allowed many to attend.

Shortly before the procession began, a large tour bus slowly made it's way through town. When I saw the number of cameras and reporters chasing it, I knew it must be conveying the Scott family to the church. I won't wax philosophically about that, I'll just say that I'm sorry the Scott family couldn't fully experience the honour procession from the sidewalk as we did.

We parked ourselves at City's center, the cenotaph. Traffic had been blocked off throughout town for hours.

From here, we could look up the hill to Courthouse Green where a large screen had been set up.

We watched a slide show of Doug's life.

Crowds lined the streets that the procession was to travel. The police officers were not only Brockville's finest, but also from the Kingston force (80km west of us and the police force employing some of the Scott family) and the RCMP.

Then, the procession started. The police bikes were from all over the province and beyond.

We saw bikes from Peel, Waterloo, Quebec, Ottawa and from the North where Doug had been assigned. We figure those bikes and officers must have been flown in.

There were OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) bikes and a large number of RCMP bikes.

A group of 6 mounted officers preceded the hearse, which was surrounded by more RCMP.

The horses (and R) were quite frisky in the brisk fall wind. It took some wrangling to keep them in check.

The pipers of the OPP played. It was the largest group of pipers I'd ever seen in my 3o-some years of parade attendance.

Then, the RCMP began to file past. There were hundreds of officers. Group after group after group, all respectfully turning their heads to the cenotaph as they passed.

Veterans and retired police officers attended and marched alongside even more RCMP.

RCMP from all over the country were represented. They just kept coming around the corner.

I'm not sure how Toronto got on today without all of these officers who were in our town today. In the rows there are about eight officers across. A hundred officers fit in a very short amount of street.

Once the procession began, it filed past steadily for fifteen minutes.

Until it finally stopped. Officers were waiting for those at the front of the procession to file into the churches so they could continue up the square to the Courthouse Green.

All the people who turned out for the ceremony filled the streets in front of the Green.

We stood quietly under a tree amid a field of Mounties and we listeneded to two of Doug Scott's colleagues from the RCMP detachment in Iqaluit give the eulogy. There were a few laughs and the kids suddenly understood that Doug was just a regular guy, doing his job when his life ended.
But they also understood that he was part of a larger community that stretches across Canada.
It's hard to covey the amount of people that filled the churches and the Green. The photos below show the Court House on the left and then pan across the Green, filled with hundreds of RCMP, the OPP pipers, at least a hundred police motorcycles and hundreds of members of the public.

Throughout our stay downtown, we were befriended by a lovely man from Edmonton. He is a grandfather and the father of a Mountie. He found himself on this side of the country and he extended his visit to include the memorial service. He gave the kids a pin from a similar service he attended out West. It is an RCMP 'We Remember' pin. He took our picture and asked the kids to write to him in Edmonton so he could send some pictures to us. We had some nice conversation with him. As we were leaving, the kids ran across a street (normally teeming with traffic), dodging through a large group of motorcycle cops to tell Mr. Davidson that they had enjoyed chatting with him and thank-you for the pin. They look forward to writing to him. I know that it's connections like this that make these events memorable and meaningful for the kids.

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