Friday, February 21, 2014

We Pay Respects.

I'm VERY late in posting this, but I've finally been able to finish:
I hate to say that December & January were 'uneventful' in our LEO/LEOW life. Because
events did take place, and they weren't all happy. So instead, I'll say they were quietly eventful. Events that made me stand still (in a manner of speaking) and just watch, listen and feel. The Deputy and I made our way to Austin a few weeks ago for a day of wandering around, eating barbecue and of course-visiting the state capitol. (I say 'of course' because growing up, a family vacation wasn't complete without stopping at museums, capitol buildings and presidential libraries. It's in my blood).

After seeing the giant Texas-sized Christmas tree in the House Chamber and locating our district's ornament (yeah, I'm the life of the party!) I felt like my journey to the capitol was complete. Minus our ill-fated hunt for the library. (I could see it from the 3rd floor, but no stairs, elevators or mysterious doors led to it!) So we called it a day and decided to go buy giant donuts, but The Deputy wanted to stop by the Texas Peace Officers' Memorial.

What was meant to be a few minutes turned into probably an hour of just looking. We read the names, looked at the structures and paid our respects. We were interrupted by some sort of city-wide scavenger hunt that actually led groups of people to the memorial to count squares and lights. Seriously. (My dad would have a had a stroke if we had ever dared to run across a memorial). So we finished up and headed home.

A few weekends after that, we attended the memorial service for a local police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty. It's a sobering experience to stand at a gravesite and hear the officer's badge number retire over the radios.
I feel like this was the time for remembering. Remembering those who have given everything to serve. Those left behind who have graciously given their loved ones to protect the loved ones of strangers. Those kids who will grow up without the mothers and fathers who loved and cherished them every day, with nothing more than faint memories and a tiny, silver badge dangling from a chain to cling to.
In the moments we spent at the Memorial, I was reminded how blessed we were to be reading names together. In the time spent in a funeral procession, watching cars pulled over on the side of the freeway, men standing with their hats off, children waving flags, others covering their hearts with their hands, I was reminded of the cost of the calling.
But we will each push on. What other choice do we have? We will each say an extra "I love you" as we send our hearts away in a patrol car. We will be sure to send thoughts and prayers to our sister LEOWs. We will cry with those who bury their fallen, we will send encouragement through texts, social media, cards. We will be uplifting to each other when worry and doubt creeps into our veins.

We will be proud. We will carry one another in our thoughts. We will always remember.