Origins of ceremonies, traditions for Officer Rod Bradway's funeral

Funeral held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

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Thousands of local citizens and police officers from up to thousands of miles away joined together Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to pay tribute to Officer Rod Bradway.

The funeral for Bradway was a rich combination of religious and military symbolism, designed to show respect and reverence for a fallen hero.

The traditions and ceremonies on display at Bradway's funeral came from a variety of sources.

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Some came from the Roman Empire and Ancient China, and others come from the U.S. and British military.

Others were uniquely from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, like the black bands and pennants displayed on officers' badges and cars when a comrade has fallen.

Another is the caisson which will carry Bradway to his final resting place. It began in the U.S. military, where it was only used to transport high-ranking officers. But all fallen IMPD men in blue receive this honor.

"They carried ammo to the front, and when they were empty, rather than just send them back empty, they would put wounded on the caisson to take them back to the rear. And that's a tradition that began in the Civil War, where soldiers that were, that died in combat, would be taken to the final resting place in a horse drawn caisson." IMPD Sgt. Steve Staletovich said.

Other honors are familiar from military ceremonies, such as the 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
Perhaps the most poignant moment Thursday will come when the procession stops at Bradway's district headquarters on the northwest side.

At the end of each regular shift, an officer is marked 10-42 over the radio to show his or her shift is over. Since last Friday, Bradway has only been marked as Out of Service.

"So he is still, as far as the computer knows, he is still on watch. The last thing that will happen as he passes by his headquarters, the procession will stop and Control will mark him 10-42 for the last time," Staletovich said.

A tentative list of officials scheduled to speak at the funeral include Gov. Mike Pence, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, IMPD Chief Rick Hite and Larry Thompson, Mayor of Bradway’s hometown of Nappanee, Ind.

Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6

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