A lone piper stood outside the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office on February 14,
lamenting the death of a fellow piper and deputy sheriff, Jeremiah MacKay. After years of playing at funerals for fallen police colleagues as the chief piper for the Inland Empire Emerald Society, friends are now playing for Jeremiah MacKay.
MacKay was killed in a shoot-out with ex-LAPD police officer Christopher Dorner in California who was found dead in a burning cabin after a shootout with authorities.
MacKay was a husband, father to two young children and a man proud of his Scottish heritage. His love of music manifested itself in giving back to the world through the pipes. Playing bagpipes for funerals of fellow officers and firefighters is a long tradition in the “New World”. Irish immigrants filled out the ranks of police and fire departments around America and it was their influence that began a new Celtic tradition.
The strains of a beautiful lament on the pipes can tear at heartstrings and tear wells; the sound of a lone piper can bring back a flood of memories. There is often that one moment during a funeral service, as the piper plays, when an entire congregation shares a common moment of reflection on lives lived. Jeremiah MacKay helped deliver that moment.
To a fellow piper – I bid you a long sleep, filled with marches, strathspeys, jigs, reels and hornpipes.