Participants from the Patriot Guard are shocked at overwhelming support for the fallen police officers from so many people with American flags
Outside the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, hundreds of people gathered to line the streets while they held their American flags to show support to two slain police officers Cpl. David Gogian and officer Jeff Atherly and their families. Over 500 U.S. flags waved in the cool breeze as the funeral procession headed toward the burial sites. One giant American flag supported by two Topeka Fire Department aerial trucks displayed the stars and stripes prominently above S.W. Topeka Boulevard. Both men were laid to rest at Penwell-Gabel Cemetery.
One retired law enforcement officer Baldwin said he feels the department’s pain in losing two men so dedicated to the job. “They stand the front lines just like everybody else,” Baldwin also commented in reference to military members protecting the country’s freedom and law enforcement officials protecting individual rights.
Several citizens even drove many miles to show their support. Phil Boatright traveled a half an hour to hold his flag as he stood in awe watching the funeral procession and large crowd. Boatright has always felt very patriotic with his father serving in World War II and his brother battling in Vietnam. Unfortunately, a hearing problem kept him sidelined at home but did not lessen his desire to support his country and all those that protect it and its people.
As friends and community members from all over emerged to support the families of the fallen officers, a general sentiment of deep sadness, accompanied by many tears, spread over the capital city. However, some of those tears were shed in response to the overwhelming support and love the community showed to the two families who now know they are not alone.
Credit: CJ Online