Friday, September 24, 2010

The last road taken

 The last day of my road vacation with Elsa ended in a heartstopper.

 We drove in Utah, south along highway 89. For 40 miles, we passed flashing road signs alerting us to a road closure ahead: Highway 89 would be closed for 2 hours. 

No reason was ever given - just the flashing beacons of Road Closed in 30 Miles... Road Closed in 25 Miles... Road Closed in 10 miles.

We left the town of Glendale, Utah, and continued to cautiously drive south on Highway 89. Where was the road closed? And why? For two hours? Someone must be moving huge equipment... or some odd cargo. 

From Glendale south, the Highway was lined with American flags. Every 10 yards or so, another American flag flapped in the breeze. For miles, this was our site. Not a home in view, just flags and the red rocks of Utah. 

We crawled into the town of Orderville. There we stopped. And we watched. 

A funeral procession passed us, proceeding north on Highway 89. The procession started with motorcycles, riding two abreast. Hundreds of them. All were police motorcycles, from various cities, states, highway patrols, state departments, national departments. Then more police vehicles passed us. Hundreds of them. Some were normal police cars, some were police pick-up trucks. Some were even new Firebirds, unmarked police cars. The silence of the parade was deafening. 
Finally the hearse appeared. And miles of families cars and trucks proceeded afterwards. All had their headlights on, all crawled by at a snail's pace.

It was the last road taken by Kane's deputy sheriff Brian Harris. He was killed in the line of duty while pursuing a burglary suspect. The linked newspaper article best seem to describe the community we observed.

Respect has not bounds. Nor do tears. The grief of the community proceeded up Highway 89 for two hours. 

When Elsa and I got back on the road, we were silent. Finally Elsa reached over to turn the CD player on in the car. We listened to Gabriel Faure's Pavane Opus 50 with guitar and clarinet. Please listen.

It was the last road taken.


Sandra said...

seeing you had to remove a comment makes me mad, i can only think what it must have been like.
the story brought tears to my eyes and i could see the cars streaming by while this lovley music played. what wonderful music, thanks for the story and the music. Life goes on, but so does pain

BANJO52 said...

I've always been impressed by what those guys have to do (and put up with). It's wrong when they lose. Sounds like he was a special case among special cases.

The music is great. I'll look for a related CD. Thank you.

rohrerbot said...

I'm with Sandra regarding the above comment being removed. What a beautiful dedication to someone who served our state. This was extremely sad news to hit our state.

Tracy said...

Your post brought me to tears. There are so many brave men and women who serve us in various capacities every day. Thanks for sharing it.

Stella said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Brenda. It is always heartwarming to hear that a hardworking law officer recieved the acclaim and admiration he deserved.

Jo and Stella

Pat MacKenzie said...

Beautiful music, sad but uplifting story. Thanks for sharing.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I got stuck in a police funeral in a different Glendale. An Armenian cop shot down in the line of duty. Your description was thoughtful and empathetic. My reaction was more negatively visceral.

altadenahiker said...

I was listening to that just the other day. One of my favorites.

Pat Tillett said...

That's a very sad story...

I'm very familiar with 89 after spending the last week in northern Az... That's quite a beautiful state you got there!

Trulyfool said...


There are moments when I extend honor to people, just as these troopers did. I'm not 'military' in any way, but I get it -- old virtues: sacrifice and loyalty.

I'm familiar with the Faure piece, too, although it echoes through me more in connection with passion -- either consummated or lost, perhaps both, and certainly on a rainy day.