I just turned my porch light on again for the evening. Its bluish hue casts a ghostly tint on my front porch and sidewalk, but I assure you, it is lit out of honor and respect.
To those unfamiliar with the routine, when an officer or officers are killed in the line of duty, blue becomes the theme for those linked together by the thin blue line. Porch lights across America shine in remembrance of their fallen brother or sister.
Tonight, I light it for a missing deputy in Texas who was possibly swept away by swift flood waters; for a deputy in Georgia, a newlywed, gunned down by a suicidal man; a Pennsylvania State Police Corporal ambushed in front of his barracks; a border patrol agent killed in a car accident; a South Carolina deputy answering a disturbance call; and a Kansas officer gunned down during a traffic stop. All these just in the first two weeks of September.
Nine children without their father.
Wives without a husband and provider.
Departments feeling the loss of a comrade and friend.
I haven't seen any flags half staff. Haven't heard any heartfelt goodbyes or thank you for your service on any news broadcasts locally or nation-wide, though there may have been some somewhere. Yet...they're not forgotten. We, in this family, feel each one. Mourn with those who mourn. Pray for those who have lost. And light our porch lights in remembrance.
As Chris Cosgriff, Founder of Officer Down Memorial Page said, "When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation."
These men and women risk their lives to help others. They understand the cost, but do it anyway. They run to the chaos while everyone else is running away, without batting an eye, and often die the way they lived...without fanfare or glitz, just grit and determination.
Their families at home, too, know the risk. As a wife and mom of officers, I can attest that we think about it often, but don't dwell. I know some listen intently to scanners or keep track of what's happening through various media sources, but all in all for many of us, it is left in the hands of God, knowing that He alone knows the future.
Several years ago when I put together my book, Standing Courageous, I wrote the following poem in the opening pages:
An Officer's Blessing
To all those who bear the badge upon their chest, may God shine down on you with an everlasting light.
May the wind gently steer you down the path you are to trod, as it does a boat on an open sea.
May God's tenderness find you wherever you go, and may His protection shield you as a mother hen covers her chicks.
May your mind be protected by the helmet of God's salvation - steadfast and never feeble.
May your voice be a welcome guide to those who have lost their way.
May your heart be that of a mighty warrior - strong and true, yet full of love.
May your hands be strong for the tasks ahead, yet gentle enough to caress an infant's cheek.
May you wear confidently the belt of truth, never compromising its strength and support.
May your feet be fitted with a readiness for action, and lead you only toward the high roads paved by God.
And, at the end of your days, may the Lord, Himself, escort you home to a place that He has prepared for you amongst the great. ~
I've said before, but I'll say again, thank you all for your service and for doing your part as sheepdogs in this world full of wolves. Porch light is on.