Mapping Georgetown: Thanksgiving Tribute to the Fallen


How bittersweet a holiday is Thanksgiving? We love those around us while mourning those we’ve lost. The love in our hearts is a reflection of the appreciation we feel from our deepest gratitude.

We begin our holiday season with Thanksgiving thoughts of gratefulness. This Mapping Georgetown story from our DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) archives, graciously offered by previous MPD Chief Peter Newsham, reminds us the price our protectors pay for our peace of mind, safety and security in Georgetown. Thank you to Matt Bromeland, Newsham’s Chief Of Staff, for the providing us with the details.

Can we even imagine the terrible sacrifices these dedicated service members and their families make — in time, effort, long hours and dedication to protect our community?

That they are summoned at times to pay with their lives is a devotion we cannot capture fully in words. Nevertheless it is right to express our gratitude and pay our respects.

Former MPD Chief Newsham’s Mapping Georgetown Story

Here is the story of Officer Robert Remington, one of Georgetown’s finest. “He was the 99th D.C. police officer slain in the line of duty since the department was formed in 1861.”

Officer Robert Remington

Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia

End of Watch Tuesday, May 19, 1987

https://www.odmp.org/officer/11171-officer-robert-remington

Former MPD Chief Peter Newsham’s Mapping Georgetown story. Courtesy Mapping Georgetown.

Officer Remington was shot and killed after responding to a burglary alarm at a designer clothing retailer on the 1500 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Discovering evidence of a burglary, he entered the store where he became involved in a struggle with one of the two suspects. He was able to shoot the first suspect in the hand but was overpowered by the second suspect who disarmed him. The suspects then forced him to his knees and shot him five times with his own service weapon. Officer Remington was discovered by his back-up officer and transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. The two suspects were later arrested and convicted of murder. They were sentenced to life in prison. Officer Remington had served with the Metropolitan Police for 19 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Biography:

Officer Remington had served with the Metropolitan Police Department for 19 years. He lived in Gaithersburg, MD. He was born in Washington, DC. He was a graduate of Crossland High School and attended Prince George’s Community College. He had served in the Air Force Reserves. Survivors include his wife, Kathy, and two sons, Kevin and Matthew, all of Gaithersburg, and his mother, Barbara Watson, and one sister, Patricia Ross, both of Clinton.

“Colleagues Proudly Salute Slain Officer”

This stunning description from The Washington Post on June 11, 1987, revisits the trauma to the family and the community. It’s only one story of the many we carry with our men in blue.

They stood outside St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Gaithersburg in their dress uniforms, blue and brown and gray, the officers from the District of Columbia, from Montgomery County, from as far away as Boston.

All wore grim faces as they went about the day’s duty: orchestrating the pageant of formality, anger and pride with which police officers mark the death of a fallen colleague.

Later, less than 12 miles from where he was shot to death with his own gun Tuesday morning during a burglary in Georgetown, D.C. Officer Robert Remington, 39, was buried with hero’s honors in Aspen Hill’s Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

The sun pierced a gray morning fog as the white-gloved D.C. police honor guard pulled the coffin, draped in an American flag, from the shiny black hearse and carried it into the pyramid-shaped church in Gaithersburg. Mayor Marion Barry, Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr., and City Administrator Thomas M. Downs, among other dignitaries, joined Remington’s family, friends and fellow officers to pray for an 18-year veteran police officer who lived a gentle life during his off-duty hours and died a violent death.

Remington was slain when he responded to a burglary alarm at Hugo Boss, a men’s clothing store at 1517 Wisconsin Ave. NW, on Tuesday morning less than 15 minutes before his shift was over. Remington confronted a burglar who was trying to steal dozens of expensive sweatshirts, costing $108 each, that had been made popular by a movie. As Remington tried to handcuff the man, they struggled, and the officer shot him in the hand. Police said the burglar then overpowered Remington, took his revolver and shot him in the hand, chest, back and both arms.

Yesterday’s simple service was broadcast through tinny speakers to an overflow crowd outside the slate-colored, modern church, where not long ago Remington and his wife Kathleen had renewed their marriage vows.

The Rev. Robert D. Duggan spoke movingly of a quiet, family-oriented man whose “heart was given over to basic values” of home, family, country and honor…. a man committed to being a good cop.” His heart of his life was with his family,” his wife and sons Kevin, 14, and Matthew, 10, Duggan said of Remington. “He was a strong supporter of his mother, a comrade to his sister.”

Remington was “always ready to start a car for a friend who needed a ride, to run an errand… to help a fellow out of a tight spot,” Duggan said. Called “Railroad” by his fellow officers because of his initials RR, Remington exemplified “the ordinary ways that we live our lives in love — home, family, fidelity, and honor. Living in ordinary ways sometimes we become extraordinary heroes.”

In a central slice of Montgomery County, daily life slowed for almost an hour as a four-mile procession of nearly 400 cars, many of them police cruisers and unmarked police cars with red lights flashing, snaked along the 14 miles from church to cemetery.

Flags flew at half-staff. Firefighters stood at attention outside their stations, the engine company lights flashing. People stared from the streets and shopping center parking lots, motorists from idled cars. At Georgia and Heathfield avenues, a small boy saluted.

At Kathleen Remington’s request, no 21-gun salute was fired at the cemetery. Instead, more than 1,000 people surrounded the grave, softly reciting the Lord’s Prayer….

From: The Washington Post, May 23, 1987, p. C1. “Colleagues Proudly Salute Slain Officer: The Last Goodbye”

Let us all share in Thanksgiving for the safety and security that our police force provides our community. We can’t thank you enough!

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see https://georgetowner.com/articles/2021/07/19/marilyn-butlers-vision-for-mapping-georgetown/.

To submit your Georgetown recollections to Mapping Georgetown go to www.mappinggeorgetown.com  or visit the Georgetown Public Library to pick up a physical map-story form to fill out.

Marilyn Butler can be reached at: marilyn.butler@gmail.com.

 

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