On Thursday, Prince Harry took part in an emotional and moving tribute to fallen Metropolitan Police Officers and staff. Joining him were Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and relatives of fallen police officers.
Held at the Met’s training facility in Hendon in North London, those in attendance gathered in a peaceful memorial garden. Prince Harry planted a cheery tree and laid a wreath in remembrance for the 650 fallen officers and staff during the Met’s 187-year history.
The Commissioner spoke to those present, saying: “I know there is much sadness here today. No-one can ever underestimate the pain that so many of you here today live with day-to-day, but I hope it will bring you some small comfort to know that you do not remember and mourn alone.
“You are all members of the Met family and we stand together and remember with you. I hope you do take great pride in the fact that your loved ones died in the job that they loved, serving the communities of London.
“We are forever in their debt.”
During the ceremony, Prince Harry read a sonnet by poet Mary Elizabeth Fry, titled ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.’
“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep. Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep. I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”
Though meant to bring comfort, those left behind, even years later, are still dealing with the many emotions that come with losing a loved one in such horrible circumstances. Sid MacCay, a former Chief Superintendent in the Met Police, lost his daughter, PC Nina MacCay in the line of duty nearly 20 years ago.
Mr. MacCay now serves as the chairman of Police in the Roll of Honour Trust. He spoke of the emotions he still deals with after losing his daughter: “You never expect to bury your child, that’s the most hurtful part.
“People talk about closure … I understand them using that term. For me, all closure means is the perpetrator’s been caught, been dealt with. There’s no closure, there’s an aftermath which continues and will carry on.”
Prince Harry also met all the families and friends as they paid their tributes by laying flowers in memory of their loved ones.
Prince Harry spoke with Mr. MacCay. Of his interaction with the Prince, Mr. MacCay said: “I spoke to Prince Harry and I found him to be caring and interested,” said MacKay, “he had a sense of compassion and understanding.”
Mayor Khan also paid tribute: “Today is about paying tribute to those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We will always be indebted to them and they will not be forgotten.”