Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanks for the "Thanks"

The memorial service for the four slain Lakewood, Washington police officers is over.

Over twenty thousand mourners attended the service at the Tacoma Dome with remote viewings held at local colleges. Churches held private viewings of the memorial service so on-duty officers could stop by. Law enforcement officers from across our country attended along with more than one thousand Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It was a bittersweet tribute to the fallen officers in particular and law enforcement in general.

Thousands paid their respects as they lined the processional route in below freezing temperatures. Signs held simply said "Thank You" and children waved small American flags. Sunny skies prevailed as the four-mile-long procession of a thousand police and fire vehicles slowly made it's way, taking almost four hours to complete the route.

The shooting has impacted me in many ways. Sadness has trumped every emotion but one. Gratitude.

The display of gratitude started the day after the shooting...people looking at me in a different way. Little smiles. Nods of the head. Eyes glanced at the black mourning band covering my badge.

A man approached me in the courthouse the next day, tears streaming down his face. All he was able to get out was, "Sorry, so sorry. Thank you."

A woman stood next to me a day later at the bank. I was on my lunch break and in uniform. She reached in her purse and pulled out a small silver police badge. She showed it to me lovingly. It had been her father's. She thanked me for serving.

Yesterday while the memorial service was underway a man stood before my desk. He asked if he might shake my hand. I don't usually shake hands with my job, it's an officer safety issue. But I did. I gladly shook his hand. He squeezed mine and thanked me for protecting him and his family.

Today, the day after the thousands gathered to honor my fallen comrades, I am honored. A young lady stepped up to my desk, tears in her eyes, and thanked me for doing my job. We shook hands.

I fought back tears...not due to sadness this time but because of the gratitude expressed to me by those people over the last week.

I am reminded there are more "good guys" in the world than "bad guys". Thanks for the "Thanks".


South Valley Girl Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:12:00 AM  

I grew up in the 60s, when the cops were considered the enemy, but I got an entirely different view of their - your - job later on, when I became friends with several of them. We can all complain about our jobs, but at least we aren't targets just for showing up, like you are. I've often said, the cops are the only thing standing between Us and Them, and every single one of you should be honored, every day, for what you do.

Thanks, from an old hippie who's learned how to tell the bad guys from the good.

Blessings to you.

Christina / SVG

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