Members of law enforcement were joined by community members to say goodbye to Corporal Eugene Cole today at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

It was my honor to be a part of the audience at the funeral proceedings today for Corporal Cole. From the lines of police officers, game wardens, sheriff's deputies, and others who lined Bass Park Boulevard, to the procession of law enforcement vehicles that escorted the hearse, to the final playing of Taps, it was a sad and celebratory day. Celebratory may seem like an odd word, but this was definitely a tribute to a man who gave his life to helping others.

I wish that I'd been able to share all of the speeches, but the Cross Insurance Center has a bit of an echo that made them hard to hear on video. The most emotional speech of the day definitely came from Gene's son, David, who talked about his father's promise that he wouldn't get mad at his son if he told the truth. The younger Cole member of the Somerset County Sheriff's Office said he took that lesson to heart when he had to go tell his Mom, the strongest woman he knows, that his Dad was dead. He ended by telling his father to rest easy at the end of his watch...they'd take it from here. As he walked off the stage, hundreds of law enforcement officers gave him a standing ovation.

I chose to include in the video, as well as a portion of the procession and the playing of Taps, a piece of a beautiful song offered by Eugene's older brother, Tom Cole. I got to know the Cole brothers decades ago when they were playing in the band, Borderline Express. Tom's voice was strong and clear as he honored his brother and took comfort in the knowledge that they'll see each other again.

Rest in peace, Corporal Eugene Cole. Thank you for your service.