With glowing balloons in hand, hundreds attended the Yung family one-year memorial ceremony at Sowder Village Square in Manassas at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31, gathering in honor of fallen Prince William Police Motorcycle Officer Chris Yung.
Officer Chris Yung died in the line of duty exactly one year prior in a motorcycle accident on Piper Lane near Sowder Village Square while responding to the call of another accident. He was 35-years old. Yung, who was both a Prince William Police Officer and served in the Marines, left behind a wife and three children.
Speakers included Chris Yung’s family members: father, Edward Yung, brothers, Dale and Bryan Yung, and his sister-in-law, Nancy Yung, who stood at the mic with her young son, Patrick. Friends included Dale Yung’s beat partner, Jordan Morris, Robert Drum from Law Enforcement United. A police Chaplain also spoke at the ceremony.
The attendees, who stood outside in freezing weather, included mostly Prince William Police Officers, many of whom brought along their family members. Looking out towards the audience, one saw many badges, uniforms, a few strollers and a sea of blue balloons that a glowed with blinking LED lights.
Brother Bryan Yung said that, “it seems like it was just yesterday,” for him and his family. However, he said gatherings like this one in honor of his brother were reassuring.
“When I see all of you, I am reminded of the impact Chris had on the community,” he said.
Bryan said he knew that Chris, “gave his life doing what he loved,” and that “he put his heart into everything he did.”
He explained the kind of person Chris was, saying that Chris had told him he wanted to be a Marine, knowing they were usually the first line of defense. He also always wanted to be a police officer and because he got to also ride a motorcycle, it just made his job even better.
Robert Drum of the Law Enforcement United, an organization that holds charity bike rides to help support the family of fallen officers, explained how he and Dale road their bicycles in memory of Chris along a 250+mile trek. In Chris’ name, they raised $85,000 for the families of fallen officers.
The Chaplain then offered a prayer for the safety of all law-enforcement officers and also for solace to come to the Yung family.
Bagpiper Steve Cochran, who played at the ceremony, said he knew Yung, having stood with him at one of the “too many” Prince William funerals for police officers and fire personnel.
“He’d be doing motor detail, and I’d be piping at the funeral,” said Cochran, who is one of Prince William Bravest, Fire Fighter Pipes and Drums. He said Yung was very memorable since he was, “always smiling and always having a good time.”
In addition to the many police officers that came out to honor Officer Yung were some of Yung’s personal friends.
Sarah Smith, Eric Smith and Will Zettler attended Hayfield High School in Alexandria with Yung and had been good friends ever since. Eric said that both Yung and Zettler were the “best men” at his wedding. As close friends of Yung’s they were each touched to see the community rally around him.
“The turnout was amazing,” Eric said. Sarah said, as a member of the Alexandria Police Department, she really appreciated how Prince William honors its fallen officers.
“I hope they do it again every year,” Zettler said, saying that if they did, he would definitely attend.
At the end of the ceremony, many attendees let their blue balloons free. If you looked towards the sky on Nokesville Road along the border of Manassas and Bristow at around 7:40 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, you may have seen them sparkling in honor of Officer Chris Yung, looking like stars in a constellation.
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