Each year is a reminder of what did happen, and what could happen.
Officers, retired police and mourning family gathered at the Saskatchewan legislative building Sunday morning to remember those who lost their lives on the job. The air was solemn and heavy at the Police and Peace Officers’ 12th Annual Memorial.
The sting of loss is too familiar to retired corporal Vernon Barry, who was happy to reach retirement.
“Some fellas I knew were killed in Alberta where I was stationed,” he said.
“It’s a young man’s job, for sure, and I’m glad I’m no longer doing it.”
Barry also attended the RCMP’s National Memorial Service. At these memorials, the shared grief helps officers come together like a family.
“I think it’s important that we’re all here to support each other,” said Sgt. Colleen Hall.
“I know I get a little bit more emotional each year because I see how it hits families,” she added.
Howard Knackstedt worries about his daughter everyday; she works as a conservation officer. So did his son, Justin, who was killed by a drunk driver during one of his shifts in 2013.
“You worry about ’em every day, but somebody has to do it and I’m honoured that they wanted to do it,” he said.
During the ceremony, Knackstedt laid a wreath for the families who lost someone serving in the police force. The camaraderie and shared grief also helped him through the day.
“There’s other people that are allowed to go through the same things.”