A New York City Police Officer was laid to rest this past Saturday after his life was abruptly ended just days before Christmas.
Officer Rafael Ramos – 40, along with his partner, was ambushed in the line of duty, leaving a path of blue tears along the way.
More than 25,000 police officers from throughout the country and Canada came together to bid a final farewell to their brother in blue at the Christ Tabernacle Church in the Glendale neighborhood.
“I have 31 years on the job, I’ve never seen such a show of support as we have today,” said Patrick Lynch, head of the city’s police union.
Ramos and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, were murdered December 20 as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, took his own life shortly thereafter.
In two non-related recent incidents and different states, the offenders died while involved in confrontations with police. Although it was determined that the officers were within legal and departmental boundaries in these confrontations, Law Enforcement had become the target of riotous protest throughout the country. Protestors made it loud and clear it was their belief that the civilian deaths were racially motivated due to the fact that both offenders were black and both officers were white. Many politicians clearly made it known that they agree.
Officers stood shoulder to shoulder staring straight ahead while protestors pelted them with bottles, cans, liquids and people screaming in their faces. Hour after hour police remained as professional as possible while taking in more abuse that a human can handle. But they did it and quite well. Arrests were made during this time when warranted despite disgruntled protestors.
Brinsley’s recent messages on social media against police prior to the shooting made it clear that these officers were targeted due to this recent civil unrest against Law Enforcement. He then took it into his own hands to retaliate with the death of two officers. The protests continued throughout the Officer Ramos services and don’t appear to be dying down anytime soon. Scores of threats against police have littered the internet along with applause on the murder of the two officers. Many arrests have also been made resulting from these threats, yet it continues daily.
While all of the chaos has continued, Officers attending Ramos funeral formed endless chains holding hands in prayer during the funeral. Tears were shed by many … both Law Enforcement and civilians alike. Bowed heads and hugs of comfort were seen throughout the crowd.
“Our hearts are aching today,”Mayor De Blasio said. “I feel it physically. … New York City has lost a hero — a remarkable man because of the depth of his commitment to all around him.” He offered condolences to Ramos’ family, and then to the NYPD, who he said is “hurting so deeply right now.”
At one point, scores of officers turned their back on a large TV screen showing the live address by the mayor inside the church. The feeling of betrayal has set deeply within them. Tensions between the NYPD and the mayor came to a boil during recent protests after a grand jury declined to indict an officer in the death this summer of Eric Garner in Staten Island.
During the service, Commissioner Bratton announced he was appointing Ramos as an honorary NYPD chaplain and posthumously promoting Ramos and Liu to the rank of detective. The police commissioner drew applause when he stated that Ramos “was a hero.” The pair were killed, Bratton observed, simply because of the uniform they wore. “They were killed because they were blue.” “Officer Ramos was assassinated because he represented all of us,” Bratton said.
The death of Officer Ramos leaves behind a wife, Maritza, and sons Justin and Jaden. Throughout the day the broken-hearted boys quietly observed the happenings around them with a solemn stare while Ramos widow broke many hearts as she worked at holding her composure with grace. The boys stood guard on each side of their mother as she accepted her late husband’s funeral Flag.
Justin, the older brother, spoke at his father’s wake at the church Friday, according to CNN affiliate NY 1. “My father was a man of character. He was a selfless man,” the college sophomore said. “He always went above and beyond for his family, constantly putting everyone before himself. Dad, I’m forever grateful for the sacrifices you made to provide for me and Jaden.”
An additional message was placed on social media prior to the funeral. “He was the best father I could ask for,” Jaden wrote after the shooting. “It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”
Ramos pastor, the Rev. Rafael Castillo spoke. He said Ramos was a loss for the church. “He was a man of great faith, and his faith informed his worldview, not just as a police officer, but as a husband and as a father,” Castillo said. “And as I’ve been saying, we are going to miss him a great deal.”
I observed a piece on social media that touched many deeply. I contacted the composer to ask if it was an original. The reply was, “I did compose this out of sheer sadness of this unnecessary loss.”
I was given the permission to repost this piece with anonymity as requested:
“Today we will bury a brother in a city that I fear has forgotten what heroes look like. A city that holds cheap the blood of its police because of a media that’s insatiable lust for a story twists the truth to make cynical the very public and politicians we serve. Today we will bury a brother and mourn his loss with thousands of brothers who I have never met yet … I would risk my life for because I know they would do the same for me. Today I will stand in silence to honor a man who stood up for our society when so many would tear it down either by their actions or indifference. Today we bury a true hero Rafael Ramos, may he rest in peace and may God give his family strength and watch over them.”
Funeral Services for Officer Ramos partner, NYPD Wen Jian Liu are as follows:
Ralph Aievoli & Son Inc. 1275 65th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 331-2100
Wake: Saturday Jan 3, 2014 from 1pm to 9pm
Funeral: Sunday Jan 4, 2014 at 10:00AM
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