It took almost an hour for the hundreds of police officers from around the state, many accompanied by their spouses and children, to process into the field house to be seated before the service began. They were joined by hundreds more firefighters and their families who came to honor Bradway’s years as a firefighter before he became a police officer.
Every 10 minutes, the stream of mourners stopped to make way for the casket guard — two members of police honor guards from around Indiana who took turns standing at attention at the head and foot of Bradway’s flag-draped casket while mourners slowly walked by.
After the call to worship, the marching band of Decatur Central High School played “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss.” The band played without two of their members: Bradway’s two children, Jonathan, 15, and Sierra, 13, who sat, often arm in arm, with their mother, Jamie, and extended family that included Bradway’s parents, Tom and Sherri Bradway of Nappanee, and his brother, Chip.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence opened the remembrances portion of the service by thanking law enforcement for their service and thanking the Bradway family for their sacrifice.
“Words fail when heroes fall,” Pence said. “In times like these, words can never give proper voice to our sorrow. Our gratitude, our respect. And still we must try. Courage is not found in words. It is found in deeds. Not in what we say, but in moments of trial.”
“This city, this state, owes a debt of honor to Officer Rod Bradway and his family that we will never fully repay,” Pence said. “He was one of us and he was the best of us.”
To Bradway’s family, Pence offered these words: “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and that will be our prayer to you.”