Onlookers were motionless as the motorcade departed the park, only averting their eyes to wipe away tears.
A group of veterans stood at attention, saluting the motorcade as it passed through Casper. Two women held one another in a long embrace. Others solemnly gripped American flags, letting the breeze fill them.
The throng gathered Monday afternoon for a police procession honoring Casper Police Lt. Danny Dundas, who died Sept. 27. Dundas served with Casper police for 13 years and was one of the city’s most popular officers.
The motorcade passed through downtown, crossed the North Platte River and followed Poplar Street north before ending at Ford Wyoming Center for Dundas’ funeral service.
Colleen Haass, who lives in Casper, came to watch the procession alone. She brought a sign with the words “God bless law enforcement” and “Thank you for your service” written in big letters.
She didn’t know Dundas personally, but felt it was important to “pay respects,” she said.
“I’ve heard so many good things about him,” Haass said.
Local members of the veteran’s group American Legion arrived a few hours early to place flags around the park’s edge. No one asked them to do it, said Larry Seems, commander of Casper Legion Post Two. The group just wanted to do something to honor Dundas, a native of Casper who graduated from the University of Wyoming.
In many ways, first responders like Dundas and those who serve in the military share a common mission, Seems said.
“He’s part of one brotherhood,” he said.
In a statement released Wednesday, Casper police said Dundas took his own life after struggling with trauma experienced during his career.
Seems said he knows how hard it is for law enforcement, who are often exposed to tragedy in the line of duty. He said simple gestures of appreciation can mean the world to police and other first responders.
“It doesn’t take much to say thank you, shake their hand,” he said.
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