Yesterday was the funeral of Damian Leeding. I do not think there would be a soul in Australia who does not know of this fallen hero. Policeman, father, husband, son, sibling, friend. Damo, as he was affectionately known.
Yesterday my route home from work was that of the final road Damo was to travel. Yesterday my route home was just as that procession began. Yesterday I drove 100 metres ahead of a cavalcade of honour.
Yesterday I watched in awe as thousands lined the streets to honour a hero of our hearts. I cried a little too as I drove by the police cars, the people, the mothers, fathers, strangers, children, elderly. All lining the paths to say one final farewell to Damo.
Yesterday, I sat with friends and talked about this outpouring of grief and support for one slain man. They asked "Why? Why him and not the endless others who have fallen before?"
I answered, "I do not know. Maybe the people are sick of the violence, the endless escalating danger. Maybe it was the people who cared about Damian, who brought him vividly to life with their words. Maybe it was that he was young, a father, a good guy. I just don't know."
Yesterday the Coast of Gold turned dark, and it's shimmery tawdriness was draped in a solemn blue. Yesterday a city cried and mourned the loss of one lone man. A hero.
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