After thousands of people shared their condolences for the family of slain Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, the beloved officer's widow wrote a letter to thank the city for its support.
Erin Bauer wrote a deeply emotional tribute to the community her late husband had sworn to protect and serve, sharing her gratitude for all those who attended his funeral and even stood by as the procession made its way to his final resting place.
Erin Bauer's full letter reads as follows:
I sit here writing a letter that I never thought I’d have to write. On February 13, my husband and Grace’s dad, Paul Bauer, was violently taken from us. Needless to say, our hearts are broken in a million pieces and our lives are forever changed. But that’s not the reason I am writing.
I’m writing to thank the people of Chicago for the outpouring of love and support at this horrendous time in our lives.
Paul would have been terribly upset that he inconvenienced so many people with the parking restrictions in our beloved Bridgeport. He would have winced at the thought that the Dan Ryan closed down for the funeral procession. He never wanted to be in the spot light. He never thought of himself, only others.
I want to thank those of you waited for hours in the cold to attend his wake and funeral. You have no idea how much that meant to us.
If I wasn’t out of tears, I would have cried the entire route to the cemetery. I want you to know that I saw each and every one of you who stopped on the side of the road to salute as the hearse went by. I saw the blue blanket draped over the fence along the expressway and the large banners with Paul’s pictures.
The trip down 111th Street stands out in my mind. There were families with small children waiting in the bitter cold to say a prayer, hold a homemade sign or wave a flag. There were young and old. The Chicago Fire Department was there with their trucks, while so many of its men and women saluted as we drove by.
I saw people of every color taking time out of their day, not only to pay respects to Paul, but to the entire Chicago Police Department. They are the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line each day to protect people they don’t even know. They are my new family.
I saw each and every one of you from the darkened window of my car. The good people in this world far outnumber the bad. Grace and I are humbled, as Paul would be.
One man almost stole my faith in humanity, but the City of Chicago and the rest of the nation restored it and I want to thank you for that.