These are all the words I could find to describe how I felt as I stood amidst thousands of my fellow citizens who had lined Edmonton’s downtown streets to pay their respects to the city’s fallen police officer and hero, Cst. Daniel Woodall.
I have never seen so many police officers and other law enforcement together marching in complete silence and in complete unison. Blue ribbons have lined Edmonton streets to support the Edmonton Police Service and to celebrate Cst. Woodall’s remarkable life.
The scene was heartbreaking but also inspiring in that thousands of officers had arrived in Edmonton to honour their fallen brother and to support Cst. Woodall’s wife and family as they cope with the unspeakable tragedy that occurred in what still seems like only yesterday.
At one moment, all you could hear was the bang of a single drum to a single beat behind the white limousine carrying Cst Woodall’s remains. It sounded like a faint heart beat. It went on for minutes. Several officers continued marching in a single spot to the beat of the drum. Then, the sound of the drum got softer, and softer, until it fell silent. It was a cathartic moment for many people, including myself.
It was impossible in this moment not to feel something incredibly real and powerful – a feeling of hollowness inside – that so many communities around the world had collectively suffered such an unimaginable loss by the death of this most decent and honourable man. A man who most of us never even knew personally, but someone who we all would be proud to call our friend, brother, or colleague.
Thank you, Cst. Woodall. Thank you for your courage, your bravery, and your sacrifice so that we might enjoy our freedom, safety, and security. We will never forget.
I am drawn tonight to the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who said this about sacrifice:
Let us all aspire to live our lives with a deeper awareness of those things which we so easily take for granted. Let us give thanks and express our gratitude to those who come into our lives – even for just a moment – and leave indelible impressions in our life’s journey. This is the example that Cst. Woodall has set for all of us.
Tonight, I light a candle in memory of Cst. Woodall.
I wish you all happiness, love, and hope in your journey. The wholeness in me bows to the wholeness in you, always.