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Sacrifices honoured on remembrance day

“EVERY day I pray not one police officer will be injured and not one more name will be added to the list.”
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart addressed these words to a sombre National Police Remembrance Day gathering, packing St Stephen’s Cathedral on Friday, September 27.
The list to which he referred was of Queensland’s 140 “fine officers lost since the death of the first officer Constable M. Connolly in 1861”.
“This morning is a stark reminder of how dangerous this job can be,” the commissioner said, referring to the shooting of Gold Coast dog squad Sergeant Gary Hamrey eight hours earlier.
The ceremony was preceded by a march from police headquarters through Brisbane city streets to the cathedral.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, in the ceremony’s main address, said “here we stand before the fact and mystery of death”.
“This is essentially a moment of remembrance, an intensely human moment,” he said.
“It is also gratitude as memory becomes thanksgiving especially for those who’ve died in the line of duty.”
The sounding of a solitary drum opened the service as the country’s and police service flags were processed to the front of the cathedral.
St Stephen’s Cathedral dean Fr David Pascoe welcomed all present to the remembrance service.
Memorial cards with the photographs of Queensland police who had died while on duty accompanied the order of service booklets.
Mr Stewart said the police service’s “broad outreach leaves officers wide open to any number of possibilities”.
He said Sgt Hamrey, injured by two men involved in a hold up at Parkwood’s Arundel Tavern, was expected to make a full recovery after being shot in the face.
He also asked those present to mark the official National Police Remembrance Day on September 29.
Archbishop Coleridge linked the police officers’ sacrifice to the Christian message.
“The job of police in the end is to preserve life …that’s why it is so deeply appropriate to have this gathering in this place,” he said.
“We are gathered today in this unusual building.
“It is one that speaks of death of the first Christian martyr but it also speaks of the triumph of life over death.
“It stands at the heart of the city as a monument to Easter, a place where we find the risen Christ.
“We pray beyond death those who have died will find their way into the perfect love we call God.”
Sgt Hamrey was discharged from the Gold Coast Hospital on September 29.
The convicted killers of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding – Phillip Graeme Abell, 41, and Donna Lee McAvoy, 39 – were supposed to be sentenced at the same time the remembrance service was being held.
The matter was delayed at the request of the offenders’ lawyers.
The 35-year-old detective was shot after he responded to reports of an armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011.

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