Two Kernersville police officers were among a sea of thousands who made the journey to New York City to pay their final respects to a fallen comrade during the funeral of NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday, Jan. 4.
Officers Dave Mundy and Eddie Shumate, who are members of the Kernersville Police Department’s (KPD) honor guard, were able to arrange their schedules and then fly to New York courtesy of JetBlue airline, which offered to fly two officers from every law enforcement agency in the country to New York City for Sunday’s funeral.
“We were very fortunate to be able to attend,” said Shumate as he talked about the experience and the opportunity to show his respect and support for not only Officer Liu, who was killed execution-style along with his partner Officer Rafael Ramos on December 20 as they sat in their patrol car, but for all the officers of the NYPD.
Shumate said the reception he and Mundy received upon their arrival in New York City was moving.
“We packed up our honor guard uniforms and arrived early Sunday morning. We were met by a sergeant with the 113th Precinct and escorted to our hotel and then to the precinct. They were all very welcoming with open arms,” said Shumate.
Shumate, Mundy and other law enforcement officers from across the country were provided breakfast and lunch and then taken by bus to and from the funeral. The two stood in a crowd of thousands along the funeral route from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and watched and listened to the service from giant screens provided to those outdoors.
“We got to hear all the speakers on behalf of Officer Liu,” said Shumate. “We also got to participate in the last salute to Officer Liu as the processional came by. It was a very humbling experience to participate in that.”
As sad as the circumstances were that brought Shumate and Mundy to New York City, Shumate said it was a joyous experience at the same time to be among other officers from all over the United States and Canada.
“It was amazing. It was like we had an instant bond,” said Shumate, who has been with the KPD for five years.
Mundy, who will celebrate his seventh anniversary as a member of the KPD on January 9, said he wanted to be in New York City to show his support for his fellow officers.
“For most agencies, it’s a really tough time for law enforcement and citizens. We haven’t really seen that here (in Kernersville), but I wanted to be there to show that someone has their back and has support for them,” Mundy said.
Like Shumate, Mundy was moved by the experience.
“It was an exceptional and very humbling experience,” said Mundy. “It was almost like the NYPD officers were there for us and not the other way around. For the 24 hours we were in New York and Brooklyn, everywhere we went, we went in a patrol car.”
Mundy said as he and Shumate stood in the deep throng of officers gathered along the funeral procession route for Officer Liu, one thing he noticed was the camaraderie.
“Everywhere you turned, someone was thanking you for being there,” said Mundy.
This was Mundy’s first time attending a funeral for a fallen officer. The experience was one that he found difficult to find the right words to convey.
“It is hard to describe. It was something,” he said.
Officer Shumate expressed his appreciation for those at the KPD who helped make it possible for he and Officer Mundy to attend the NYC funeral.
“I am very thankful that Chief Cunningham allowed us to pursue this, as well as Captain Bowman and Captain Leonard and Carol Hauser,” Shumate said.
He also wanted to make mention of something Officer Wiu’s father talked about during the funeral service in describing how his son always called at the end of his shift to tell him he would be coming home okay.
“He would call him and tell him he had finished his shift and was coming home,” said Shumate of the possibility officers face of not coming home from work one day. “That’s what we all do when we walk out the door each day.”