A joyful Christmas season is here for most of you brothers and sisters in blue but for some, a dreadful holiday season looms on the horizon. In the wake of the Ft. Hood massacre and the murders of four Lakewood Washington officers, too many families will experience a Christmas like no other.
I will drive through several states to spend Christmas day with my father. My kids will sit with grandpa as they open presents and my wife will help cook a special Christmas dinner. During this time I will forget about work, the Special Response Team, and all my other responsibilities. I will enjoy a special day with the ones I love the most.
However, the children, the wives, the parents, and families of these American Warriors will gather with heavy hearts and reflect on the lives of the men and women they loved so dearly. Their kids will not feel the joy that my children will feel as they open their Christmas gifts. Their widows will cook Christmas dinner, although filled with pain and sorrow. For these heroic families, this holiday season will be painful to say the least.
The grief these people will suffer is a subtle reminder of why I chose to serve. Just like their husbands, dads, sons, or brothers, we are all willing to make that sacrifice for people we don’t even know.
Sadly, the day has come where violence and mass murder has become a regular occurrence in American culture.
I wonder what the future holds for my youngest children. I’ve worked so hard to provide a stable environment for them. My wife doesn’t work so she can raise our children at home — like most families with a single income, we struggle. Like most of you I spent Christmas day in uniform for many years, answering calls instead of watching my kids play with their new toys. After all, it’s our children’s well-being and futures that we’ve chosen to work so hard for.
The personal sacrifices we make as parents and police officers will be treasured by our kids in their adult lives as they recall memories of their childhood long after we’re gone.
It’s with this sense of commitment that we provide our children a better life.
John Wayne was once asked what he wanted most for his new daughter Marisa. He replied, “I want her to be grateful as I am everyday for living in these United States. The first thing she’s going to learn from me is the Lord’s Prayer. I really don’t care if she ever memorizes the Gettysburg address just so long as she understands it and since little girls are seldom called upon to defend their country she may never have to raise her hand for that oath, but I certainly want her to respect all those who do. I guess that’s all I want for my little girl.”
It appears that the things that Wayne wanted for his children fifty years ago are very similar to the things that I wish for my children and all the children of this country. It’s why I’m willing to sacrifice my tomorrows for theirs. No matter who is in peril in the streets I patrol, I am willing to sacrifice my tomorrows for people I don’t know.
Every time that I pin my badge on my uniform shirt and kiss my children goodbye I accept the terms that face me on the streets, for God is my protector.
As you warriors celebrate Christmas with the ones you love take a minute and reflect on the victims and families from Ft. Hood and the Lakewood Police department. Remember Oakland, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Okaloosa County, Florida; Seminole County, Oklahoma; and the dozens of other cities and towns that have lost heroes in 2009.
It is our responsibility to provide these fallen Warriors’ children a safe and bright future. They are our brothers’ children.
The next time you report for another tour of duty, take this with you:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God"
Sgt. Glenn French