Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lake City

A few days ago, I wrote how one of the city's finest passed away from a lone gunman's bullet.

In larger metros, this is sadly, more common place.  In a small town like Lake City, Minnesota, this was simply jaw dropping.  Bad things never happen in Lake City.  People leave their doors unlocked, walk to the local stores (2 blocks only).  In Lake City, the population averages from 4,000 to 5,000 during the year, more in the summer as Mayo docs flock to the serene and sublime city's lake shores.

People are nice there.  It IS small town America.  People grow up going to the lake, come back with their own children, and retire there.

How do I know?

I'm a 3rd generation Lake Cityite.  I was not born there (Rochester, actually) but my grandfather was the fire chief, my grandmother the local volunteer maven; now my parents live there, my son lived every other weekend with my parents, and I shadow the doc there.  

And today, that little town is putting one of the finest to rest.

The streets are narrow.  People park on them, doors unlocked.  People need to be polite in passing for there is no room to fly-by as we do in the metro.  The city is small and long.  One road in from the NE cuts through town, one road from the SW (Rochester side) ends at the lake.  It is not a one road town, it is a two road town with two banks, a BK, a hospital connected to Mayo, a physician clinic connected to themselves, and 4,000 people.  In winter, it probably dwindles to 2,500.

Today, 2,000 of the state's finest are paying tribute to slain officer, Shawn Schneider.  Two thousand squad cars.  Two thousand more people in a town that can barely contain it's own population.  Two thousand uniformed police officers paying tribute.

I'm awestruck. 

In talking to my son, I wondered where they'd park all the squad cars during the service.  People aside, there's just no room for the cars.  I wondered how they'd do a processional, how are they going to fit 2,000+ people into a church that has never seen more than, perhaps, a couple hundred?

Of course, when one of the finest is killed in action, those details are taken care of by those who know how to; ensuring one of the finest, is also given the finest send off.

Two processionals.  One for every officer outside of Lake City and then one for the officers of Lake City (his department) and the county (he was also a sheriff for the county).

Flags at half staff as ordered by Governor Dayton.

What strikes me is that for all of that tribute and honor and dignity, I wish... it had never happened.  Rather, I wish that a father came home that night in December and tucked his three kids into bed and kissed his wife goodnight.

In honor and dignity to all of you who serve and protect, I bow my head in silent tribute for risking your lives to keep us all a little safer.

Shawn Schneider

4 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

I salute Lake City-my granddad and Uncle Hank drove the Chicago Queen on Lake Pepin for many decades and we spent every Christmas there for years-driving from PA in a huge station wagon that my dad had made bunk beds in the way back so we could sleep while he drove.

With tears streaming I offer my sympathies to a town that i will always think of as a part of my home and history.

A Doc 2 Be said...

We all hang our heads in sorrow.

Cops go to small towns like this, forsaking pay to provide security and safety for their families, never expecting

this.

I bet your granddad and uncle knew my grandparents...

heh @ station wagon - wood panel siding? little cubby underneath the back panel for the "goodies"?

my dad had one too!

NP Odyssey said...

Thoughts and Prayers to his friends and family.

Have driven through Lake City on 61hundreds of times since I was a kid on our way back and forth from Winona. Always seemed like a friendly little place with that Dairy Queen that we never stopped at.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Best place in Lake City was the root beer stand... selfish old hag sold it to developers - destroyed lots of childhood memories for thousands of folks...

she is my only bad memory of LC...