A wail that comes deep from a heart so broken it knows no mending.
It is the cry only a mother or a father who has lost a child can make.
I heard it again today – that unmistakable wail of love and loss.
It came as LAPD Officer Nicholas Lee's mother, watching her son's casket being put into a hearse for what she knew would be his final trip through the city he served; a final trip to the cemetery to be buried, let all that motherly love come pouring out in the form of a cry.
And off camera, we cried with her; we cried for her.
Parents aren't supposed to bury their children. It just isn't supposed to be that way.
Officer Nicholas Lee – or Nick as his friends called him – died March 7th after his patrol car collided with a large truck on a winding road in Beverly Hills.
The impact so great, the 16 year veteran didn't stand a chance and died at the scene. His partner, a trainee three months out of the academy was injured but she is out of the hospital and was at his funeral today.
No doubt LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who gave part of the eulogy, could relate to the young woman's pain as he shared a personal story; he too lost a police partner in a traffic accident. "He died in my arms", said Beck.
The truck driver in the accident was also injured and hospitalized but is expected to make a full recovery. As for the accident, that is still under investigation but the working theory is the truck may have lost its brakes as it made its way downhill.
But back to the mass and the loss of a son, brother, husband and father; a friend and a police officer.
The Cathedral has a seating capacity of 3000 and was filled. There were thousands of men and women in uniform from all over California and the country.
Knowing they were all here to honor someone who worked for the city I love and grew up in, I wanted to thank them all myself for coming. I took as many pictures as I could of their different department patches and will post them on Twitter. My way of saying thanks.
There were many emotional moments but the one that left not one dry eye in the house came when Nick's younger brother Danny gave his eulogy.
Speaking of his nieces, he related a conversation he had with Jalen where she asked him "Who's going to take me to the father-daughter dance?" That's when, he said, it hit him all at once.
It hit a lot of the officers there. It hit a lot of us. And hard.
Those two little girls – "Nick's girls" – that bravely stood there clutching their mother's hands, sobbing.
You shouldn't have to bury your father when you're still a child, either.
It just isn't supposed to be that way.
A memorial fund has been set up for Officer Lee's family.
Donations can be made to:
Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union Attention: Nicholas Lee/Blue Ribbon Fund P.O. Box 10188 Van Nuys, CA 91410
(FOX 11 / CNS) Funeral services were attended by local leaders and law enforcement officers from throughout the nation today for Los Angeles Police Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, who was killed when his patrol car was struck by a dump truck in Beverly Hills.
Lee, 40, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred around 8 a.m. Friday near Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, about one block across the city line. His partner, who was just three months out of the police academy, was hospitalized and released Saturday night. The two were responding to an "unknown trouble'' call when the crash occurred.
An investigation into the crash is underway, but Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said last week the initial indication appears to be that the truck, which wound up on its side after striking the patrol car, may have lost its brakes.
A 16-year veteran who received more than 70 commendations, the Korean-born Lee had previously been assigned to the Van Nuys and Wilshire Stations prior to the Hollywood Station, police said. He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
A rosary service was held Wednesday night at St. Basil Catholic Church at 3611 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown.
Funeral services were held at 9 a.m. today at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., followed by a graveside service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale.
Due to the service and procession, motorists in the downtown area should anticipate some traffic delays. According to the LAPD, three streets will be closed beginning at 6:30 a.m.:
Hill Street between Ord and First streets;
Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Broadway;
Northbound Grand Avenue between First and Temple streets.
After the service at the cathedral, the funeral procession will travel west on Temple Street to northbound Glendale Boulevard, then north on the Glendale (2) Freeway, west on San Fernando Road and north on Glendale Avenue to the cemetery.
Lee was the 205th LAPD officer to die in the line of duty, according the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers. The last was SWAT Officer Randy Simmons in 2008, according to Officer Nuria Vanegas of the LAPD's Media Relations Section.
Two LAPD officers died in Iraq in 2010 while serving in the U.S. military, she said.
A memorial fund has been set up for Lee's family. Donations can be made to:
Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union Attention: Nicholas Lee/Blue Ribbon Fund P.O. Box 10188 Van Nuys, CA, 91410.