PORTLAND -- Thousands stopped what they were doing Thursday to find an overpass or a street corner to stand vigil as the body of Officer Robert Libke was driven to the Memorial Coliseum for a celebration of life.

Some took their children out of school for a lesson in sacrifice and gratitude.

The overpass on Northeast 12th Avenue stretches above Interstate 84 with waist-high railing. Emily Costello and her mom watched for the motorcade.

Its kinda sad, the fifth grader said.

Her mom, Holly Johnson, agreed.

It was just sad for that to happen to him, she said.

Holly knew these moments would carry messages that could last a life time.

I wanted her to learn a lesson. To know how important it is to support our community, she said.

So they stood and waited for the procession of police and fire and the hearse. She wanted her daughter to know what it means to care for someone you have never met. It s what communities do.

To be a good part of it when she s growing up too, said Holly.

They werejoined by dozens of others who followed the urge to say thanks and we re sorry.

Joyce Anderson is a state worker who left her cozy office with a view of the overpass to stand in a light drizzle and the wind. It was important for her to be on the overpass itself.

Its just heart breaking that someone lost his life in service to the people of Oregon, she said.

She stood near Emily and Holly as they watched the moving spectacle of a police and fire procession that passed under their feet and stretched for miles.

It is -- it gets you choked up thinking about it you know? said Rachel Cook.

At the coliseum where the procession ended another mom, Lisa Wright and 9-year-old son Donovin stoodwatch as hundreds of police and fire drove past.

Lessons were being learned there too.

The respect of what the police officers and emergency people do for us, she said when asked what she hoped Donovin learned.

The lessons of life are sometimes difficult . But on days like this, words like respect and honor and love come to life for each of us to see.

Read or Share this story: