Moments after pulse-pounding music and ear-deafening cheers to welcome the Seattle Mariners onto their home field for Opening Day at Safeco Field Monday, the crowd was instantly silenced.
Thirty officers from the Lakewood Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Seattle Police Department fanned out across the field, holding a 45-foot-by-75-foot American Flag at waist level.
And when public address announcer Tom Hutyler asked the already standing crowd for a moment of silence for “six police officers who served and protected others” and died in the line of duty, most of the 45,876 in attendance respectfully hushed.
Hutyler read the names of four Lakewood officers murdered in a coffee shop Nov. 29: Sgt. Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards; Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell fatally wounded during a domestic dispute call on Dec. 21; and Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car Oct. 31.
“It was a very great honor. It meant a lot,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s Dep. Curt Seevers of the tribute.
Seevers served as a pallbearer during the memorial service for his friend Mundell.
The crowd wasn’t completely silent, he said. There was one group of noisy, rude fans who might have ruined the moment. That was overshadowed, he added, by people who clapped for the officers as they stood with the flag and shouted “thank yous” to them as they marched on and off the field.
Other fans approached with comments of support and handshakes during the game, he added.
“It was a very great honor,” he reiterated, speaking both of the tribute and his part in it.