Just one week after Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was laid to rest, the Fraternal Order of Police gathered for a mass in his honor.
“They say time is a great healer, (but) I don’t think time is ever going to heal the wounds that we’ve encountered, especially for folks in these front rows,” Police Chaplain Father Dan Brandt said.
Commander Bauer’s wife and daughter were seated in the front row for the mass, and Erin Bauer spoke publicly for the first time since her husband was shot to death while trying to apprehend a suspect near the Thompson Center in Chicago.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody here,” she said. “Paul was definitely my better half. He made me a better person and I want to thank Paul’s parents for raising such a good man.”
Bauer’s daughter Grace also spoke at the mass, delivering a reading.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson urged those in attendance to live their lives the way Commander Bauer did, with purpose and humility.
“If you don’t find yourself helping people like that, you need to question yourself and ask yourself why,” he said.
The mass, moved to FOP headquarters because so many people were expected to attend, celebrated Cmdr. Bauer’s life.
“I mourned for him last week, but at this point going forward, I choose to celebrate,” Police Captain Mel Roman said. “I choose to celebrate this man’s life. He’d be okay with that, and that’s why I’m going to do it.”
The service was also filled with emotion, and Commander Bauer’s wife summed it up.
“We were so lucky to have him,” she said. “I do feel like he was a gift to me and I think God gave him to us for just a short period.”