Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department - Copyright 2023 - Honor Our Fallen

Honoring our Heros

In July of 1998, at the request of the US Capitol Police Department, the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department performed at the funerals of Officer Gibson and Chestnut.  This was to be the first time in the history of the US Capitol Police that they have had to bury members of their department.  The number of Officers that turned out at the Funeral had to be heart warming for the Family.  The many Honor Guards, Police Motorcycles and squad cars from all over the country were impressive, but unfortunately all too familiar for Police Officers and their families in our area.

The Funeral Procession was going to drive past the Capitol Building before going to Arlington National Cemetery so our bus was placed at the beginning of the procession so we could go straight to the cemetery.  As we turned onto the roadway from the staging area we were totally unprepared for what we observed.  The streets for as far as we could see were lined with people.  Men, Women and Children standing with their hands over their hearts, some crying, some waving American Flags and others throwing roses onto the roadway.  Many people were holding signs such as “Thank You” and “You’ll never be forgotten.

As the procession passed from one county to the next, the local Fire Department had their ladder trucks backed up to the road with the ladders extended and large American Flags draped in black bunting suspended between the ladders.  The biggest shock of all came when we turned onto the expressway ramp and could see that both sides of the express lanes were lined with people as far as we could see.  Drivers in the other lanes had pulled their vehicles to the shoulders and were standing by their vehicles with their hands over their hearts.  We saw construction workers standing on their trucks with their hard hats over their hearts.  Every overpass we passed under had hundreds of people on them doing the same, as well as more fire trucks.  This went on for about fifteen miles.  It’s very hard to express the feeling on the bus that day, but it’s even harder to describe how everyone felt the next day when we saw the exact same thing in a completely different state for Officer Chestnut.

We saw a group of little children standing in a front yard holding a banner written in crayon that just said “Farewell Mr. Chestnut” and a women standing in the road crying holding a sign that said “Thank you from our hearts and from our city”.  And again the highway was filled with as many people as the day before.

We all think of Police Officers that get killed in the line of duty as heroes, but the people from these cities showed the world that these men were their heroes.

Kevin Taylor

Past President

Emerald Society of Illinois