Web offers global forum for mourners
By Ben Beversluis
The Grand Rapids Press
It's a 21st century funeral visitation, an electronic community of death mourned and life celebrated:

"Rest easy brother ... your job is done. We'll take it from here. ... Oh Lord, as we remember, please let him forget," reads a note signed simply, "Badge 195 Winston-Salem Police, NC."

Or from a Northumbria Police constable in England: "Such a tragedy, and such a waste of a young life. Yet another fine officer falls foul of a low life bum. My heart goes out to Officer Kozminski's little girl and parents. I will say a prayer for you. God bless Bobby, rest easy bro."

And from the other end of the globe, Senior Constable Robbie Colcott, Victoria Police, Australia:

"Robert, we will learn the lessons of your tragic death as we carry on your work in your image all over the world. Never in vain, never forgotten. With great respect -- God speed brother."

Within days of the slaying of Grand Rapids Police Officer Robert Kozminski, mourners from across the country and world had posted hundreds of remembrances.

Some address Kozminski as "brother." Others reach out to his family.

Some are from local officers, friends and family, or just people who once met him. Others know only his name.

Some include poems and verses and personal remembrances. Others are a few words: "Rest easy, hero. God speed."

The most heart-wrenching include the code "EOW." It means "End of Watch," denoting a survivor of another officer killed on duty.

"My prayers go out to the family. Especially the little 3-year-old. I hope like my 3-year-old sister that she will be able to remember her daddy. Never forget this man. Always remember the times you had with him."

It was signed "Jessica Orr, Daughter of Det. Kevin Orr EOW 11-22-06."

Mary Fisher, mother of a Clare County sheriff's deputy killed Oct. 9, 2003, recalled reading the Officer Down Memorial Page the night he died.

"Like a stock ticker, there's new postings and new postings. You just cry. Then you go back again, because that's what it's all about."

She suggests other survivors visit the site, if they have the courage.

"You find out how many lives your officer has touched."

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