Last week's unspeakable killing of Yarmouth Police K9 Officer Sean Gannon has left Cape Cod united in grief.
Today's public tribute as Officer Gannon's cortege passed from Hyannis to South Yarmouth exemplified the strong support that most Cape Codders feel for our police in general and for this young officer in particular.
This evening one of your editors took a trip to Chick-fil-A in Hyannis for a salad and some coffee. The manager came over to chat with us and we mentioned the out-of-town police cruisers we saw in the drive-through. She mentioned that several drive-through patrons had "paid it forward" today - literally paid the check for the vehicle in front of them - when they found themselves behind police vehicles.
While we were eating and visiting with the manager, a group of five young police officers arrived and sat down for dinner.
As the officers enjoyed their meal, your editor asked the manager if he could buy milkshakes for the five officers - only to learn that he was the third person to make the request. After the officers left, some of the patrons sat around chatting about the week's events, the loss of Officer Gannon and their universally strong support of the police. This was a diverse group, a charming young couple from Chatham, an Air Force veteran and others that make a good cross section of the Cape.
Make no mistake - there was nothing expressed but love and support for our police officers.
Leaving Chick-fil-A, we drove up Route 28 towards South Yarmouth - the same route the escort followed when Officer Gannon's hearse traveled the road to St. Pius X Church this afternoon. Nearly every vertical surface was adorned with a blue ribbon - all along Route 28 through Hyannis, West Yarmouth and South Yarmouth. It was truly impressive to see all those ribbons moving in the wind on this dark night.
Turning off the main road, we entered South Dennis and encountered a sea of blue lights - a large motorcycle escort accompanying the limousine carrying Officer Gannon's family back home for the night.
As the procession moved along slowly, cars pulled off the road to make way. Perhaps the most poignant sign of respect was by a citizen, walking his dog in the dark.
He paused, faced the procession and bowed his head in respect.
Cape Cod made us proud today.