Police Officer Organizes Honor Guards for Fallen Soldiers at LAX


"It's not just airport police but it's all of us, from the director down to the maintenance individual that wants to help and wants to make this a meaningful return of the loved one," Dye said. It's a team effort."

For his part in the honor guard, Dye always makes sure to escort the families to the air field and assign a fellow officer to remain with them during the ceremony.

"Most of them are very distraught, very emotional of course," Dye said. "They arrive here and they don't know how they're going to get through the day. So we tell them 'You're part of our family, you're with us and we're going to get you through the day.'"

His fellow officer, Karla Ortiz, was one of the first to volunteer and joined the honor guard in early 2007.

"Sometimes tears have rolled down my face," said Ortiz. "But what the family is feeling compares nothing with what I might be feeling. I could not even fathom or imagine what they're going through, their loss or pain. To see another human being grieve for somebody who is a hero is very touching for me."

The Army honor guard placed the casket into the hearse and the family approached with Dye close by. After a few minutes of silence, they hugged each other and stepped away. Dye escorted an older woman away from the hearse, taking her arm into his and giving her hand a reassuring pat. The hearse was closed.

"It's a very private moment, a very personal moment," Dye said, "And we're very honored that we're part of that."

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