PARKLAND — A somber mood hung over Pacific Lutheran University's campus Tuesday afternoon as Mount Rainier Ranger Margaret Anderson's life was honored by law enforcement officers, friends, family and the community, all of whom gathered to pay respect to the 34-year-old ranger who was shot and killed by a gunman on New Year's Day after
The Tacoma News Tribune posted a terrific story and live blog. Click here to visit the story. Also, visit the Patch photo gallery illustrating the event. The TNT shared its photos with Patch.
The celebration of life for Anderson — which attracted thousands of people — began with a formal opening and presentation of the colors by a multi-agency color guard. Speakers included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Gov. Christine Gregoire and Jonathan Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service.
Jarvis said Anderson died doing exactly what park rangers are asked to do each day. "She did what she did best," Jarvis said. "She kept visitors safe."
Midway through the memorial, a photomontage showed Anderson with her family including husband Eric Anderson and daughters Annalise Rose and Kathryn Paige.
A series of formal ceremonies took place throughout the memorial including the National Park Service bell that rang 22 times at 2:36 p.m. as an honor guard of seven rangers saluted Anderson’s casket.
Members of the Seattle Police Department served as an escort detail for the slain officer's family before members of the honor guard slowly marched out of the PLU's auditorium. Six men rolled out the brown-colored casket protecting Anderson's body into the lobby and outside as the ceremony came to a close.
Randy King, Mount Rainier Superintendent, said that many questions are left unanswered but that lives were saved due to Anderson's response to Mount Rainier's time of need.
“Ranger Margaret Anderson left Paradise to do what she does best, protect others," King said.