- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 24, 2002

Hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown Silver Spring yesterday to salute area law enforcement agencies involved in last month's sniper investigation during the city's annual holiday kickoff parade.
Despite blustery 42-degree weather, residents turned out in droves for the "Thanksgiving Parade: A Tribute to Law Enforcement." They stood in the cold to watch high school marching bands and wave to local politicians, but most came out to thank Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose and other officers who helped catch the sniper suspects.
Rita Foster, 52, showed her support for Chief Moose and others, and yelled encouraging words to all her passed her. She was happy to be out on a sunny weekend morning for a good cause.
"Good, looking good," Ms. Foster shouted as a procession of organizations and bands marched past.
"It's wonderful. I don't get out a lot; this is fantastic and I'm glad I came. I wanted to show my support for law enforcement but not just for the sniper. I wanted to show my [overall] support for them," the Silver Spring resident said.
Leading the parade was a first for Chief Moose, who once had an invitation to participate in a Rose Festival Parade in Portland, Ore., but couldn't attend.
Yesterday, he led the way seated in a vintage convertible as one of the parade's four grand marshals.
Gary Bald, head of the FBI's Baltimore field office; Michael Bouchard of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan also served as grand marshals.
"This was a good opportunity for people to see police in a different light. We are saluting them for the good job that they have done. We can have peace of mind and go about our lives. This is a very deserved tribute," said Silver Spring resident Robert R. Middleton.
Mr. Middleton, 53, was among those who waited patiently as the parade wound its way down Fenton Avenue.
"I've had a great time. It's a strange combination a parade, a remembrance and a tribute but there's a nice balance," Mr. Middleton said.
As a convoy of police cruisers from eight jurisdictions filed down the streets, the crowds cheered and clapped; many wore purple moose ears that read: "Thank You MCPD."
To the crowd's delight, motorcycle officers revved their engines, those in squad cars turned on their sirens and police on foot waved to people who shouted out greetings.
In the midst of the fanfare, a poignant moment occurred when a Montgomery County Ride On bus slowly made its way along the parade route.
The bus was in memory of Conrad Johnson, the driver who was killed Oct. 22 as he prepared to make his first run of the day.
Several of his co-workers walked in front of the bus, which flashed the sign: "In Memory of Conrad Johnson."
Earlier, an "Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving" was held at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church nearby on Pershing Drive. During the hourlong service, religious leaders from different denominations offered words of comfort to the families of victims killed in the sniper shootings.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, offered condolences to the families who lost loved ones to bullets. He assured them that they and their loved ones would not be forgotten.
"I thank God for what He's done through great police work, to find and stop this terrible killer. I want families to know we haven't forgotten you or those who you love. Be sure of our love and with God's help this will never happen again," Cardinal McCarrick said.


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