In what has become a somber, almost sacred, tradition, crowds of ordinary folks came to pay their respects to a fallen first responder in one of the simplest ways possible.
On overpasses lining the procession route for San Antonio Police Officer Miguel Moreno, people came to cry and comfort one another and wave flags and silently salute the sacrifice of a hero.
All the major bridges over Highway 281, across the northern section of the city, saw crowds of citizens who stopped what they were doing to watch and wait and offer their respect to the Moreno family and the law enforcement community.
Judi Kinchen and her friends came with American flags.
“I bring my flag all the time. I'm prior military so this means a lot to me, to protect and serve. It's extremely unfortunate, what's going on in our country, but if I can show my support in any way, I will definitely be here," said Kinchen as she watched the growing crowd. "It does my heart good to see so many people who take just a few minutes of their day regardless of what's going on in their life to come out here and let those soldiers or police officers or firefighters who have lost their lives, just a few minutes of their time to show them that they care and feel bad about what has happened.”
Grandmother Mary Suvealdea brought her grandson.
“I have grandchildren his age, so for moms and grandmothers all around San Antonio, take care of your kids. Tell them you love them all the time,” said Suvealdea, a native San Antonian who is proud of the way her hometown honors the fallen.
Suvealdea added that during the recent memorial services for fallen firefighter Scott Deem, an out of town visitor was shocked by the size of the crowds.
“She said she was astonished because they don't do this in Houston. I said only San Antonio,” she recalled.
“There's tons of people with flags and people honking so I just appreciate my city,” said Christina Bockmon as she wiped away tears.
Bockmon called the turnout a fitting tribute for those who protect and serve.
“People are wanting to show their support because they support us every day, and I feel like it's just my honor to be here today,” Bockman said.
Amidst the roar of motors and the wail of sirens, men put their hats in their hands and women held their children closer, listening to the silence of their hearts.
Sariyah Solis, 16, waved a flag with a thin blue line.
“I couldn't even begin to imagine what the family is going through,” Solis said.
Brothers in blue from the San Antonio Fire Department came too, lining the overpasses with firefighting apparatus, grateful for the sea of support.
“It gives me a sense of gratitude. It's a really good reminder of why we took the oath and why we do this job,” said Firefighter Ryan Pinkerton from Platform 38.
“It reminds you that people do realize that we are here to serve them and we do this because we feel a sense of duty," said Lt. Frank Campos with Engine 28.
Campos also said that it’s important for first responders to acknowledge each other’s contributions.
“They're always there for us on scene when we need them and we try to be there for them," he said. "The very least we can do is come out here and show our support and know that we're all one big family and we've got each other's backs."
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