Tribute to the Thin Blue Line

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2003

With our world at war, the soldiers of the military are our heroes.

But there is another type of hero who performs those same types of duties and knows the same danger &045; not just in war times, but every single day of their professional lives.

Firefighters, police officers, state troopers and sheriff’s deputies &045; all agents of law enforcement &045; they, too are soldiers &045; but on another battlefield.

Just like the soldier, they train, sacrifice time with their families and leave their homes &045; not to go into foreign battlefields of war, but to the streets, counties, highways and cities where they face the possibility of death every single day.

The danger they face is not from foreigners in different lands, but from their own people, of their own citizenship and in their own backyards.

They aren’t given the luxury of knowing who is the good guy or the bad guy &045; there are no different color uniforms.

Just like the soldier, law enforcement agents kiss their spouses and hug their children goodbye and with a uniform on their body, a gun at their side and a badge on their chest they, too, enter a battlefield.

They are the unsung heroes of a society that needs discipline and safety &045; asociety where schools can’t discipline children and parents won’t; a society with a new reality called Homeland Security, when it used to be that our homeland was the only thing that was secure.

They work in a world of stress and turmoil, trouble, chaos and confusion. They must refrain from abuse, though they are often abused. They must fire with weapons half as powerful as those of the criminals they are pursuing and must be kind to the ones who often wish them dead.

Since the beginning of time, there has been a struggle between good and evil &045; there have been people who have chosen to break the law rather than abide by it. If we look back as far as the first family God created, one brother killed the other. Unfortunately, today the battle between good and evil still exits. And thank goodness we have members of law enforcement who protect us.

I have always said that the second highest calling to the call of God is the call to public service. After knowing many law enforcement officers throughout the years, I have come to believe that for many of them, law enforcement is not just a career, it is a calling and each of them has fearlessly and selflessly answered that call.

Our world is safer and better because they have.

Law enforcement officers have been kicked, cussed, cut, shot at and spit on, but they have answered that call and have served their fellow man.

They have been called pigs, dogs, dirtbags, racists &045; every four letter word in the book &045; everything but a child of God.

They have risked their lives and sacrificed their souls oftentimes for people who could care less if they lived or died.

They are often shot at by the very people whose lives they are trying to save. They work for the children, the drunk, the elderly, the oppressed, the misguided and the wicked &045; the good and the bad. They work for those who need help and those who won’t help themselves.

Whether they’re running through burning buildings, making a routine traffic stop, taking a child away from its drug addicted mother in the middle of the night or visiting the home of a mother and father to tell them their only daughter has been murdered or their teenage son has been killed by a drunk driver &045; they serve with honor and distinction.

They’d rather be somewhere else, but they’re answering their call.

They’re serving the people. And they are diligent in their duty because they will not let up, shut up, give up or give in until they do their jobs, and their jobs are anything but easy.

They must be tender enough to hold a wounded child or tough enough to fight its abusive father. They must balance anger and frustration with justice and equality.

They must be passionate and persevering, cautious, concerned and convicted, yet they must cow-tow to rules, regulations and financial constraints that bind them from doing their jobs to the best of their ability. Their budgets are often cut in half, though their risks and responsibilities double.

They must work hard to secure our safety even if it means their own.

They secure our safety and defend our freedom, never compromising either. They must be friendly and warm enough to compromise, yet cold enough to kill.

They work in a world of dissension and chaos and walk a tightrope between hope and fear. They are ready, willing and able to give their lives on a moment’s notice for a total stranger.

They have a thankless job. They work twice as hard, for half as much.

Their education is topped off with on-the-job training, which often comes through high-speed chases or shots fired into bulletproof vests.

But with pepper spray in their eyes and a lump in their throats, they must be lethal weapons of destruction or gentle giants of goodness.

They take more risks than we, as average people, have ever known; go places we’ve never been and see things most of us think only happen on TV.

They must be slow to anger and immune to fear, yet susceptible to grief. They must remain emotionless while caring and be caring while emotionless. They must not get personally involved, though they are involved personally. They are often victimized and put in harm’s way just by virtue of their jobs.

The lives of many nameless, faceless people have been spared because an officer has arrived just in the nick of time. Theyve helped the homeless and oppressed, many times out of their own pockets. They wear many hats and perform many roles: preacher, counselor, doctor, teacher, marksmen, athlete, friend and foe, but there are two words that describe them best: saints and heroes.

John 13:15 says:

&uot;What greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.&uot;

We need to pay tribute to the men and women who have selflessly lay down their lives and in doing so have lost them by fulfilling one of the greatest professions on earth.

Let it be known that there is no greater way to live or die than in the service of law enforcement or the U.S. military. Both are servants and soldiers, but more importantly, both are heroes and saints who have answered their call and have served us well. Let those who have given the ultimate sacrifice not be remembered as fallen officers but as risen heroes.

In Mark 10:31 we are told, &uot;But many who are first will be last and the last will be first.&uot;

Law enforcement agents have never been fully appreciated for their value to our society, but I believe their benefits are not to be collected here on earth but to be rewarded in heaven. Let us all rest assured that they are.

In the words of the great poet Wordsworth, &uot;That best portion of a good man’s life &045; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.&uot;

Let us know that the men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty shall always be remembered for their acts of kindness and of love, and let us never forget the price they paid for our safety and our protection.

May God richly bless the memory and the legacy given to us by law enforcement officials who have lost their lives in the line of duty &045; those who have served us in the past, those who protect us in the present and those who will defend us in the future