One last promise
Wednesday, January 03, 2018
I recently had the most profound privilege to attend the one-year memorial of a police officer who gave his life in the course of his duties. Indeed, there can be no greater demonstration of one's devotion to a belief than to give one's life to the cause.
Let me make this absolutely clear that I abhor the phrase "lost his life," because this implies that there was no choice. We, who serve, know there is always a choice. We know this each and every day we choose to go forward when others run away, we choose to hunt the things that go bump in the dark, we choose to shield others in society from its evils.
So, what is the "one last promise" that I refer to in my title? I'm talking about our solemn duty to one another as law enforcement officers. Perhaps we could not be with you in life, but in death you will not travel alone. We will be there to escort you home.
I challenge you, my brothers and sisters, to attend a first responder's funeral, to fulfill your duty to one another, to embody that "one last promise" that no one goes home alone.
It is incumbent upon us that we honor those who gave all of their tomorrows for our today. There are few situations more personally challenging than attending a first responder's funeral because it brings home to all of us the very real danger we face.
However, it also shows that you are not alone in your struggle.
That sentence is worth repeating, because during the truly hard days we have in our careers of service, it does feel like we are all by ourselves. So, rest assured that you are not alone.
The thin blue line is a real thing. It is living, breathing and comprised of individuals from every walk of life. While we as individuals may be struck down, our brothers and sisters will carry on performing a job few can.
Of all the subjects I have mused about, this is the one I personally struggle with the most. Beyond seeing the damage wrought by the monsters of society who walk among us, the death of a first responder is loss deeply felt — above and beyond the argument that a first responder intrinsically contributes to society on a daily basis, while the average citizen may contribute once in a while.
The world is truly a lesser place every time someone in our profession gives his or her life for the cause. It places a burden upon all of us.
As President Abraham Lincoln said during the Gettysburg Address, "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."
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