GLENDALE (PIX11)-- In one of the biggest showings in memory of strength and unity among law enforcement, Officer Rafael Ramos was laid to rest Saturday, almost exactly one week to the hour that a mentally unstable man shot and killed Ramos and his patrol partner, Ofcr. Wenjien Liu.
Starting at sun-up, officers from around North America started showing up at Christ Tabernacle Church by the dozens, then the hundreds, and then the thousands.
"An officer dies in the line of duty, it doesn't matter where," said an officer from the Chicago Police Department as he explained why he and a group of fellow cops from the Midwest to attend the Saturday morning funeral in Queens. "We're all one family."
A Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable told PIX11 News outside of the church why he was in attendance. "Even in Canada in the last year, we've had deaths like this. I've even lost a friend."
"These people make it possible," said a volunteer officer from San Marino, California, regarding his fellow cops, "to be safe " at home and on the street.
That's why, he said, he joined with thousands of other officers to create a sea of blue uniforms as far as the eye could see, radiating for at least a half a dozen blocks in every direction at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Cypress Hill Street. An estimated 25,000 law enforcement officers gathered outside of the church, could only hold about 700 people in its sanctuary.
The leaders of the men and women in blue arrived in rising rank: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.
They spoke in descending order of rank.
"He didn't just have a Bible in his locker," said Vice President Biden about Officer Ramos, a deeply religious man who was a deacon at the church which hosted his funeral. "He lived it in his heart."
Governor Cuomo said that Officer Ramos, Officer Liu and the rest of their 35,000 member department have acted professionally in during protests of the deaths of civilians, mostly people of color, in police custody nationwide.
"The NYPD," the governor said, amid strong rounds of applause, "upheld the rights of others in protests even though they were the targets of slurs... by some."
Mayor de Blasio said that, as the representative of the City of New York, "All of the city is grieving, for any number of reasons," but "most of all because we've lost a good man."
Commissioner Bratton officially declared that both Ramos and Liu are now posthumously "promoted to detective, first grade." His even greater surprise, however, was that he also named Ramos, posthumously, to his lifelong goal of police chaplain.
Both announcements received thunderous applause from the thousands of officers outside the church, as well those inside.
The cops outside were also controversial, though. By the hundreds, many turned their backs from the church while Mayor De Blasio spoke inside. One retired NYPD officer had even brought a sign reading "Dump De Blasio" that he displayed right in front of the mayor as he walked past the retired cop.
After the mayor had finished speaking, all the men and women in uniform did an about-face, to be in position for the 13-helicopter flyby overhead, and the unbelievably large motorcycle motorcade that led the hearse to the nearby Cypress Hill Cemetery.
At least 225 motorcycles roared past Ramos's visibly grieving children, Jaden, 13, and Justin, 19. were in a funeral home limousine, looking on, before heading to their father's final resting place.AlertMe