Sunday, June 18, 2006

Memorial Pages

This is something I never thought about. Out on the web there are sites devoted to remembering those who have died in the line of duty. They are maintained by various agencies. What a sad job that must get the call to add a new name.

This is the one for the Massachusetts State Police.

Right away my eyes scanned it for Trooper Hanna's name. I had to go back a bit, it was 1983. I can't believe it's been that long.

Of course, I knew exactly where Trooper Mark S. Charbonnier's name would be. At the time I was working as a 3rd shift computer operator at United Way and I would be driving home at 3 or 4 in the morning. That night/morning, I was driving home about an hour after Mark (he was from a Townie family) was shot. As I traveled south, driving just a smidge over the speed limit, I spotted what I knew to be a police car coming up fast I eased off the accelerator...but he blew past me. As I passed through Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham along Route 3, more and more police vehicles were flying past me. Normally at the time I would be nearly alone on the road, just me and some bread trucks, maybe a Boston Globe truck. But as I continued south the traffic grew heavier. It was mostly police cars but there were other cars - all speeding, all with just one male occupant. Finally, when I was nearly home, I passed the Duxbury exit. When you drive past Exit 10, Route 3 descends and curves and you can see quite a distance in front of you.

The sky glowed with the lights of what seemed to be a million police cars. My heart was pounding at the sight.

I thought it was the end of the world.

They were in the breakdown lane, the travel lane and the passing lane. What little regular traffic there was had to pass in the far left shoulder. I was frantically trying to get the radio to tell me something. At that point you are not far from the Pilgrim nuclear power plant and that was my guess. What else could cause such a scene?

It took me a minute to realize that they were letting me continue south, so it couldn't be an accident at the power plant. They would have been stopping me and forcing traffic north.

I was so grateful to make it home from work that morning, my sons.

Those were the days before the Internet, etc and I was frantic for news. There was a manhunt for the killer. Fortunately, the neighbors had a police scanner.

Anyway, now the memorial page has a new entry.

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