As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. While I can’t visit with each of you individually, I can, however, remind and show you that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes and locations. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading and I hope it will be beneficial to you.
May 14-20, 2017 marks the period that we call “Police Week”. In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. I, like a lot of you, will attend memorials or private ceremonies. Some of you may just gather together to reminisce about our fallen comrades. Most of us will do something so we remember them and never forget what they have done for us.
It is during this time of year that we talk about honor. We see honor being displayed during memorials in Washington, and in state capitals, and local cities and towns across our Nation. We see honor being displayed by federal, state and local officials with proclamations of Police Week. We see honor given as a surviving family member of one of our heroes walk by to grieve, to remember, to honor.
But what is honor? Webster’s Dictionary defines honor as: “a showing of usually merited respect”, “one whose worth brings respect or fame”, “a keen sense of ethical conduct” (integrity). Honor can carry a broad definition, but we seem to “know it when we see it”.
You’ve probably heard policing described as “an honorable profession”. Maybe it was in the academy, or from your first FTO. Maybe you’ve heard it as you participated in a memorial event. But if not, policing certainly is an honorable profession.
The final scenes of Saving Private Ryan show a James Ryan hoping that the life he lived “earned what all of you have done for me”. Then he turns to his wife and says “Tell me I have led a good life. Tell me I’m a good man.” I think that most of us can relate to that. As we look back over our careers, even our lives, we hope that we have “led a good life”.
From time to time we should all ask that question. “Have I lived a good life?”, or in terms of honor, “Have I lived a life of honor?” The good news is even if we have fallen short of that mark thus far, we can make changes to our life. We can make decisions that bring honor to ourselves, our family, country and our profession. The good news is that we can live a life of honor, and when we do that, it will encourage others to do so.
For all law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for an especially peaceful and safe week for you: safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.
In closing, thank you for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.