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A Sea Of Blue At Officer Flisk's Funeral

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole was at the funeral for slain Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk Wednesday morning. Here are his observations:

I'm standing outside Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine at 77th and Western, surrounded by a sea of blue. Everywhere I look. The men and women of the Chicago Police Department are in their dress uniforms. They number in the hundreds. The professionals who each day say goodbye to their loved ones not knowing if they'll return are gathered to honor one of their own who never made it home last Friday. The sight takes your breath away.

Michael Flisk was an evidence technician shot in the head for doing what he did best, collecting fingerprints to help capture the bad guys. By some bizarre twist of fate just as Flisk captured a perfect set, the parolee who left them on a car he burglarized stood just steps away and decided to end Flisk's life. The officer never had time to even reach for his gun.

Officers have traveled here from beyond Chicago. I see squad cars from as close as Willow Springs and as far away as Cleveland.

Officer Flisk Funeral
The funeral of Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk. (Credit: Vince Gerasole/CBS)

A bagpipe procession nearly 30 strong eventually leads Flisk's hearse to the Church's doorway. Their melancholy chorus brings a tear to your eye that freezes instantly in the bitter cold temperatures. As the pipers play Danny Boy and the pall bearers walk Flisk's coffin into the church each officer gathered on the outside lawn comes to attention and salutes.

As an observer who never knew Flisk or walked the streets of Chicago in uniform keeping the piece in an increasingly violent world, I've been overcome with a rush of emotions all morning long. But as I look out at the officers now holding their hands to their heads in respect , I wonder what they are thinking. Are they hoping their collective show of support brings some sense of comfort to Flisk's wife and four children, not to mention the sister and two brothers who also serve on the force? Are they wondering if the next casual bullet fired in Chicago will have their name on it?

Snow continues to fall and music from inside the church now echos out to the lawn. The mass is beginning in honor of a man who stood at similar ceremonies earlier this year. All here are hoping this will be the last of its kind for a long time.

Vince Gerasole, CBS 2 Chicago

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