You coached tee-ball over the summer. You sat next to me at the last PTO meeting. I see you at Mass on Sunday. Our children play together. We see each other at parties and local events. I don’t look at you and see a uniform. I see friends and fellow parishioners. I see involved parents and community members.
Often times I don’t look at you and see your job; I see who you are. But since Saturday, all I’ve thought about is what you do. I’ve thought of the uniform you put on every day; the uniform that I view with a sense of pride and others view as a target. I’ve thought about what it means to be married to you. What must it be like, watching your car leave the driveway? Is it agony for your spouse, waiting for headlights to sweep across the living room window? Will your children’s words one day echo those of thirteen year old Jaden Ramos?
Today I had to say bye to my father. He was their [sic] for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.
As everyone knows by now, Jaden’s father, Officer Rafael Ramos, and his partner Officer Wenjian Liu were murdered. Instead of wondering what he’ll get for Christmas or how he’ll spend his vacation, Jaden will be burying his father.
I know you haven’t stopped thinking about the direction this country has taken since 9/11. Neither have I. It’s hard to believe it was only thirteen years ago we put the NYPD and NYFD on pedestals. What’s happened to us? We’ve gone from parades to protests, from lauding the selfless acts of law enforcement to wishing death upon them.
Arthur Ashe said, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Mr. Ashe says it far more succinctly than I ever could. But I’ll try anyway.
Thank you. Thank you for choosing to be a member of law enforcement. Thank you for putting your life on the line for the people that love you and for those that hate you. Thank you for running toward danger when everyone else is walking away.
You don’t do it for the glory. Goodness knows you don’t do it for the money. I know, for you, it’s more than a job. It’s a calling. I know you don’t get to leave work undone on your desk, neatly filed away until your alarm goes off tomorrow morning. You bring it all home with you. Every time you leave your house, you risk running into someone you’ve arrested. You endure offensive comments, dirty looks, and worse. Thank you for carrying all of that on your shoulders. Thank you for, in spite of it all, wearing your badge every day.
Tomorrow you will still be a coach, a leader, a parent, and a friend. You will be an example to my children. You will inspire others to follow in your footsteps; “to protect and serve.” I am honored to know you as both a hero and a friend.
*Readers, please visit the NYPD Facebook page to show your support for Officers Ramos and Liu and all law enforcement officers.