Anne Heche, "Not when they are being chased by pirates. They want them armed and dangerous."
My favorite line from the movie, Six Days and Seven Nights. I laughed, but it is also true. When threatened, I want to be protected and feel safe.
For thirty-five years my husband wore a bullet proof vest as part of his everyday uniform. During the morning briefing he was told about the deaths of officers from all over our nation, officers killed while performing their duty, protecting the lives and property of citizens. He never knew who would pull a gun. It wasn't always the tough guy sporting a shaved head and body tattoos. The bullet could come from a routine traffic stop with a gray haired grandmother or a pretty teenager. Abused wives have shot the officer sent to rescue them. Mixed in are the robberies, riots, and murders.
My husband has comforted families after delivering the news of a loved one's death. He has held babies severely beaten by an abusive parent while waiting for paramedics. He has wrestled maniacs high on amphetamines to the ground before they could hurt themselves - or others. More than once he has stayed out all night searching for a lost child or an aging parent.
My husband has often joked, quoting Winston Churchill, "There is nothing more thrilling than to be shot at and missed."
If you say so, Honey, but it scared me to death. I tried not to worry when you came home late, telling myself if you were hurt, someone would come. You never spoke much about what happened on your shift, just bits and pieces - enough for to me to know you fulfilled your oath to serve and protect.
I dedicate this poem to you and all law enforcement personnel. Bless you all for your dedication and sacrifices. You are the heroes who stand in the rift between danger and safety. Surely God has a special place in heaven for you.
The Final Inspection
The policeman stood and faced his God
which must always come to pass,
he hoped his boots were shinning
just as brightly as his badge.
"Step forward now policeman,
how shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek,
to my Church have you been true?
The policeman squared his shoulders,
and said, "No, Lord. I guess I ain't,
because those who carry badges
can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays
and at times my talk was rough
and sometimes I've been violent
because the streets are awful rough.
But I never took a penny
that was not mine to keep,
Though I worked a lot of overtime
when the bills just got too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
though at time I shook with fear,
and sometimes, God, forgive me,
I wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
among the gentle people here.
They never wanted me around
except to call their fear.
If You have a place for me,
it doesn't have to be grand,
I never expected or had too much,
so if You don't I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
where the Saints had often trod,
And the policeman waited quietly
for the judgement of his God.
"Step forward now, Policeman,
you've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets
....you've done your time in hell."