Every day a small percentage of Americans get up in the morning, put on their uniforms and do something that most of us wouldn't ever dream of doing...put their life on the line for the rest of America. Law enforcement officials, emergency medical personnel, military, and medical professionals all work every day to protect and keep the rest of us safe. And it takes a tragedy for them to be recognized.
Over the past week we as Americans have been reminded, yet again, that we are not safe from attack or tragedy. From the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, to the horrific events of Thursday night into Friday's manhunt of the bombing suspects...these people stepped up and put their lives on the line. I can honestly say that I could not do what they do, and I am forever grateful for their willingness to serve.
I'm not sure if, like me, you were glued to the television and internet yesterday during the manhunt that in essence shut down the city of Boston. Seeing the video footage of the bombings and the gun fight between the suspects and police still takes my breath away. The streets of Boston were literally a war zone. I've walked down Boylston street, I've attended events on Marathon Monday, and cheered on the runners. I've been to the Arsenal Mall and the Target store across the street. So it's just amazing that these areas that I frequented were the scenes of one of the worst acts of terror to hit on our soil. (Please note I did not say "the worst.")
All day yesterday I thought about the people who lost their lives and those who were hurt during the past week, and my heart ached for them and their families. But I couldn't help but think of all the men and women who were going door to door searching for the suspect who was still at large. They had no idea what they would find behind each door, or in each garage. They could have easily walked into an ambush, but knowing this they kept searching. The first responders in Texas who ran towards the fire to help save the people who were there became casualties of the explosion. These people on a daily basis put the safety of the public above their own.
In many cities, including Seattle, the police departments are under extreme scrutiny because of mis-steps(some MAJOR). But the fact remains, these people are here to protect us, and when tragic events happen and we as citizens are running away from the scene...they are running towards it.
During these tragic events I'm also completely overwhelmed with the response of the citizens who stepped up to help their fellow citizens. The people who helped others after the bomb blasts in Boston, pure heroics. The doctors and nurses who stayed well past their shift end time to help all the people who were hurt, pure heroics. I know that some may think that this shouldn't be considered a heroic thing because they were just doing their jobs, but I don't agree. Without them, the 180+ people hurt during the blasts would be worse off right now.
I've been thinking about this blog post all day and wondering if I'd be able to put into words what I am really feeling. I started thinking about my father who is the sheriff in the county that I grew up in. My father will be the first to tell you that a majority of his job is administrative, but there is that small percentage that puts him in danger. I respect my father for the work he does, and I respect him because he handles it with grace and professionalism. Over the past 15+ years my father has been part of investigations, sting operations, recovery efforts as well as being a first responder to incidents that happen. He's seen things that I don't think I could even begin to process.
I can't even being to express the gratitude and respect that I have for all of the people who put their lives on the line for the public's safety. To the men and women who fight every day across the world in every branch of our military to make sure we are safe back here in the States, thank you. We don't take enough time to thank all of these people for the work they do. So here is me saying it...Thank you.