I didn’t know how to salute him as he passed. I’m not an officer of anything. It seemed like a silly gesture coming from a woman in yoga pants standing on the side of the road. I caught it by accident, as I had work to do today.
But there I stood, still, respectful, with no words as the air choked in my throat. Hundreds of city, county and state vehicles from all over Florida both lead and followed as he was escorted to his final resting place. At first, I was just sad for his family and friends. I didn’t know him personally. But as I watched the procession, I began to also feel a profound sense of pride in our community for how they’ve honored him and his family.
Solidarity in the face of immeasurable tragedy is an inspiring thing to watch, especially when it represents the best in us. I pray that there will be an enlightenment in those fueling the anger that now grips our country. Now that we are here, and we recognize the decay that proliferates in the foundation of the American Dream, can we not find solidarity in wanting a better future for our children?
Officer Charles Kondek was a 22 year veteran of police service, first in New York City and then here in beautiful Tarpon Springs, Florida. He leaves behind six children. They can lay their heads down at night with pride that their father served his community well. I’m certain that they’d rather lay their heads down for him to kiss them. But there will always be predators. There will always be people who have no regard for life. It is for that reason that each one of us should be grateful that there are men and women who are willing to take an oath to protect their communities, even with their lives.
Rest in peace Officer Charles Kondek, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Rest in peace Officer Rafael Ramos, New York City, New York
Rest in peace Officer Wenjian Liu, New York City, New York
You can read statements from the funeral service in the Tampa Bay Times on line article: http://188.8.131.52/news/publicsafety/tarpon-springs-officer-kondeks-family-charlie-loved-christmas/2211620