Katrina and I had a very moving experience yesterday that we’ll never forget. I officiated the funeral of Corporal Jeremy McLaren, 28, the first officer in the history of Spring Hill, Tennessee, to die in the line of duty. His mother, Lois, attends our church and is in Katrina’s LifeGroup. It was a long and emotional service, especially when Jeremy’s five-year-old nephew, dressed in a full police uniform, was inducted into the Spring Hill Police Force, a moment that brought the toughest officers to tears.
The motorcade to the cemetery was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There were hundreds of patrol cars in front of us and behind us, all with flashing blue lights. As far as we could see, it was like a twinkling ribbon of blue. We processed through Spring Hill, tracing Jeremy’s patrol route one last time. On the streets, groups of citizens gathered waving flags or with hands over their hearts. Many were standing at attention and saluting. City workers came out of their offices, children from their schools, men from their barber shops, families from the stores and restaurants. All of them stood at attention while the hearse, surrounded by motorcycle escorts, passed by. The fire department raised ladders on their trucks and suspended large American flags through which we passed. Mourners stood on overpasses, waving flags. Traffic was shut down on the freeways with cops standing at attention beside their vehicles at every ramp, saluting their fallen partner.
At the cemetery, Jeremy was honored with a rider-less horse, a full honor guard, a 21-gun salute, a helicopter flyover, bagpipes, a bugler playing taps from a nearby hillside, and a radio last call.
In my remarks at the funeral, I said that Jeremy had chosen a noble and proud profession; he was clad in blue and he served with honor. He was part of a force that guards us day and night, keeps us safer than we know, and on whom our lives depend. We can credit him with a job well-done and a life well-lived. And at the request of his family, I was able to present the Gospel to two thousand law enforcement officials and community leaders. I spoke from John 11, so pray that the Word of God will bear fruit in someone’s life.
And as the Lord lays it on your heart, please remember his family in prayer.