WATCH: More than 1,000 people line the Island Highway to watch heart-breaking funeral procession for RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett
It was a sea of red filling the Island Highway, as thousands of police officers escorted the body of Const. Sarah Beckett in an emotional send-off.
“It’s overwhelming,” said the wife of a Sidney/North Saanich Police officer. “It’s amazing to see all these uniforms but it’s just sad that they have to all come together for something like this.”
A rider-less horse , a poignant symbol of the lost officer, lead the hearse while a Mountie carrying Const. Beckett’s hat follows behind.
“I have a grandson that marched here today and my son-in-law so it’s very moving, I can tell you that,” says Dave Saunders of Saunders Subaru. “My hat goes off to each and every one of them.”
Before the powerful procession, RCMP officers made a point of walking through the crowd to shake hands and personally thank the public.
“To come by and say thanks to us, when we should be thanking them, I mean that’s overwhelming me,” Marilyn Day said. “I thought if I’m going to cry, now this is the time to do it.”
But RCMP say they’re the ones overcome, by the huge out-pouring of support.
“We are very much appreciative of everyone attending and showing their support and it just means so much to us,” says RCMP Supt. Manny Mann.
Marching underneath a Canadian flag strung between two Langford fire trucks, the procession makes its way towards the Q Centre.
It was an emotional scene as total strangers stand in the rain, many of them wearing red in support of the RCMP, to be a part of this historic day.
“It was a sad reason for us all to see this,” one bystander said. “Hopefully, it’s a once in a lifetime thing.”
“I’m so deeply sorry for them and I’ve been through something like this and the pain will never go away but it does get easier,” said Aniko, a member of the public waiting in line to go into the funeral.
‘Heart-wrenching send-off for a true hero’
For many, it was hard to hold back the tears as Const. Beckett’s casket passed by them.
“I think everybody was tearing up,” one woman said. “It was heart-wrenching and a send-off for a true hero.”
Cst. Beckett’s flag-draped casket was carried into the funeral by her comrades, as her young family, this city, and this nation say goodbye to Sarah Beckett.