This morning over on the other side of Charlotte, NC very early in the morning, there was an accident involving an eighteen wheeler. The police were in process of closing the road to take care of this truck when another for what ever reason, plowed into the police cruisers. A report I saw said that several officers were injured, and one was killed. She had just recently returned to duty from maternity leave. She leaves behind a firefighter husband and three children. I have thought about this off and on all day.
I baked two cakes of cornbread so to have enough for the dressing for Christmas. I drove late this afternoon when my son called after things had slowed down and he could work me in and got the oil changed in my Jeep. As he checked out the tires and brakes and various other parts, my mind wandered. Even when he found and pointed out where obviously I had done some off road driving and had turf and grass lodged in the front skirt, I was thinking of something else.
That officer, and any and all officers who are killed in the line of duty, will never do any of that again. Families lose someone very important. Someone who will miss all the firsts. Who will not be there for the holidays, for the birthdays, for any day forward. Their voice will no longer be heard, their presence not felt. Not in the physical, usual manner. They will be there in spirit, they will be there in the photos and cherished memories.
Those who don those uniforms do not leave their house with the plans of not returning, though they realize it is always possible. They bravely go into situations that put them in danger. The risk and threats are always there with and in every call. But they go, and they do what they can to protect and serve. I know, that not all are good but the good outnumber the bad. It is the bad though that get all the press and attention making it seem they are the majority.
I sit here now, some nature program on television. I have mentally run down the things needed for Christmas and Christmas dinner just a few sleeps away. That officer’s family is preparing for a funeral. I am checking lists to see if I have gifts for everyone. They are checking lists for the process of alerting all who need know of the death. I and so many others of us, are making our plans for our tomorrow and after. For this officer, there is no tomorrow. For her family, their tomorrows are forever changed.
My hope here, is that in the sadness of this day, we realize the dangers Police officers face every day. We realize the risks they take, and that there are times, sad times, when they pay the ultimate price. They put on that uniform and they go out there to do what they can to keep order and calm. They face those who do not respect and who will do what they can to harm or worse. There are those who refuse service and respect. May we stop and recognize what they do. May we do what we can to make it better and easier for them. If we see where they have a vehicle pulled over, that we slow down and give room. May we remember, they are human too, they have feelings, lives and families.
Today, an officer lost her life in the line of duty when an eighteen wheeled truck struck the cruiser. May her death not be in vain. Slow down, pay attention, be aware. May this officer rest in peace.