The snow falls across a dark winter sky, the soft white landscape seems to glisten in the night as a single red rose lays still against the granite wall. The wall is long and winds its way through the garden, still and quiet, as if a hush has been brought by the snow, daring any sound to break the silence. That rose rests, nearly frozen, the snow beginning to cover its stem and leaves, the petals sparkle with the moisture of the light touch of snow. It’s December at the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial in Washington D.C. In a few months, spring will have awakened the garden and the sidewalks will be lined with visitors and others preparing for the ceremony to add the names of officers killed in the line of duty in 2019. There is sadness, for certain but to many, this is a place of healing, remembering, honoring but mostly, healing. Thankfully, as we enter the Christmas season, there are less names to add for 2019 than this day in 2018, thirty less. That is wonderful but the 118 names for 2019 are too many and most certainly, the number will rise before 2019 steps aside to allow 2020 to take its place. We can but hope it will be still less than before.
Niall McCarthy wrote an article in 2016 looking at some numbers for law enforcement officers killed. Most recent numbers are not shown in the graph but let’s take a look at his numbers from Forbes Statista.
If we look at the missing years, we have 2016 is 174, 2017 at 171, 2018 at 158. The method of counting varies from organizations. For example, Mr. McCarthy has 124 for 2015 when the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial shows 162. The high year of 1974 numbers vary by 5 with the NLEOM carrying the higher number.
But it is not the numbers we must recall. Ten more officers lost their lives last year between today’s date and the end of the year. Can we know, of course not and we shouldn’t know what those numbers will be or, more importantly, who will be the persons behind those numbers. For every number there is a face, a family, a loss, a memory, a legacy and that is what we must recall, celebrate and honor.
If you would like to look at the numbers in our nation’s history all the way back to 1786, go to https://nleomf.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Officer-Deaths-by-Year-updated-4-10-2019.pdf As of today, in our history, the number is 21,910. For those more mathematically driven, that is an average of 94 a year. Of course, reporting methods in the 18th and 19th centuries were not accurate, and numbers are still not the story; rather it’s the person whose story fills that number.
The Officers Down Memorial Page offers photos and information on the officers who make up the numbers and statistics for any given year. Go to: https://www.odmp.org/search/year
At the ODMP page you can also see, for example, the 24 K-9’s killed in the line of duty so far this year. The photos and names will not be something you soon forget.
The snow continues to fall and soon the red petals are barely visible through the white snow but as if they are determined, they continue their watch, their duty of honoring those here remembered. Each petal pushes what red it can through the snow to let us know that the flower is still alive, as is the persons whose names are inscrolled upon these marble walls. The rose will never fade as long as we dedicate our lives to remembering and honoring those who have given their lives in the service of their fellow Americans.
As humans we have been endowed by the Creator with an eternal soul, the part of us that is truly us. When all the trappings of this earth and human form are stripped away, that which is us, the soul will continue to live and we pray to laugh and live in the eternal bless that Christ has prepared for those who know Him and who have given their hearts to Him. For those, we need not grieve, they continue to live and love and soon, if we too are followers of Christ, we will be reunited with them. If you do not yet know Him who is eternal life, may I urge you to not let another minute pass by until you do. Remember that between now and December 31, more names will be added to the NLEOMF list and many others who are not tallied each year but will, still, not pass physically into 2020. Do you know your future should your life be asked of you this day or tomorrow? It is much too important to put off yet another day.
This beautiful young lady posed for this photo shortly after becoming a police officer. Natalie Becky Corona was assassinated while working a patrol duty on January 10, 2019. She had been an officer for 5 months with the Davis Police Department in California. The story of her faith is a blessing to all those who know and love her. Her life may have ended on this earth this past year, but she is alive and living and loving in a heavenly home prepared for her. What a joy it is to know that this life is not the end.
Make this Christmas the merriest of all by beginning your celebration by coming to know the person for whom the day is celebrated!
Merry Christmas to all those who honor us by reading our posts and for all those who pin on any badge to go forth on behalf of your fellow Americans, may God bless you and please stay safe!