It is Police Week... the week set aside to honor... the ones who protect and serve. To especially honor the ones who have protected and served... and paid the ultimate price for a duty they love. 162 officers lost their life in the line of duty in 2011. Even one is too many.
I kiss him goodbye and he walks out the door. I refuse to live my life in fear... and so I almost don't think about it. His patrol area is our sleepy part of town... and there are weeks that go by where the most excitement he has is wrangling some lost goats or coaxing a horse back into his fencing with his empty black bucket. And then there are days that hold more sadness than anyone wants to know about. He shares some... when he is ready. And I listen, because he needs to take it out of his head.
He hopes that his job does not come 'round to us... but sometimes, it does. When the car chase ends in arrests of students, or when he is splashed on the front page of the paper, every action examined. His duty of protection suddenly turns from the public and focuses on home. I see the flicker of fear in his eyes, and the way he shoves it back down, coming up stronger...new tools fastened to his belt.
All in all, I am amazed by him. That his care for what lies beyond our own four walls is so vast... and that he can truly make our little corner of the world a better place. And to quote a man he recently pulled over... You're the nicest cop I ever met.
It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.