Officer Justin Sparks gave an especially emotional eulogy during the funeral for a fellow officer killed in the line of duty last week.
Sparks is the brother-in-law of Officer Blake Snyder, 33, and the pair are very close.
Snyder was shot by 18 year-old Trenton Forster after responding to a call. When Snyder pulled up alongside Forster’s car and asked him to show his hands, Forster immediately pulled a weapon and began firing. Snyder was killed instantly.
He leaves behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter. Prior to becoming an officer he was on the IT team at his church.
Local television stations covered the outpouring of support and entire funeral services.
Officer Sparks had a hard time holding his emotions together as he spoke.
“I stand before you here today with the realization that we live in perilous times, and you all know what I mean. It would be easy to despair and succumb to fear. I have never been more confident in our righteous cause. Let me tell you why. Love is why. That is the answer. As long as there are those who are willing to sacrifice the most precious gift of life for others. I promise you we will prevail, and good will overcome.
“I knew it. I knew the pain and tragedy he would see. I know the toxic environment he would immerse himself in every day. I knew in the depths men go to to hurt each other. A new strength would have to bring peace where there was no peace. Because that is what we do. I knew he would have to do it while be an outstanding father and husband.
“Buddy, Blake, while I wept over you in the hospital room, I was struck with the sensation of unbearable loss accompanied by unbelievable pride. So allow me now, brother, to make you proud. I will live on and realize your dreams. I will be your arms, holding up Elizabeth. I will be your hands, in guiding your son to become an honorable man. That is my promise.
“Today, in the presence of God, and all those you know, I tell you this: You are a better man than I, brother. You are a better man than me.”
Then Sparks explained how Blake knew he’d written a hymn for all fallen officers, something he’d done in the wake of all the the latest police killings. He’d planned to save it for when attending a funeral for one of their own, and said “the both dreaded the day” he’d actually have to read it. Little did he know he’d be reading it for his very own brother-in-law.
“This is the blue hymn for the fallen. For his fellow man he fought, and for his fellow man he’s fallen. Joyful hearts and chorus answer, for this was his calling. Led by courage through, honor and bravery shone.
“In the Heavens he’ll now serve, for Heaven’s called him home.
We brothers blue remain, hearts of pride now shone.
We send our faithful friend to his eternal home.
No more sadness, pain or guile. No more night watch all the while.
Rest now hero true, Lord take him home with you.
“Now death where is thy sting? The humble servant sleeps. Now heaven-bound on angel wings, now heaven bound to serve our King.”
Watch the beautiful eulogy below.