RARA-AVIS: Police Memorial Day

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 13 May 2004

Today is National Police Memorial Day, part of Police Memorial Week, celebrated this time every May. Today the names of all American police officers who were killed in the line of duty during the previous year will be added to the walls of the National Law Enforcement Memorial at Judiciary Square in Washington, DC.

Last year, when this day came around, I wrote here,
"Cops who do it for real don't have writers guiding their destinies who make sure they survive to the end of the story. The real-life stories of, on the average, 200 cops, end prematurely and unexpectedly every year." That's still true.

With your permission, Ithis year 'm including a poem in the message. The first time I ever heard it was at a Requiem Mass for a murdered policeman that I attended as my Department's representative. I don't know who wrote it, but it's reproduced at several spots throughout the 'Net. It may not be the most elegant piece of verse ever composed, but it's heartfelt, and, I think, appropriate today.


The policeman stood and faced his God, which must always come to pass. He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.

"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 tough.

"But I never took a penny, that wasn't 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 times I shook with fear. And sometimes, God forgive me, I wept unmanly tears."

"I know I don't deserve a place among the people here. They never wanted me around except to calm their fear.

"If you've a place for me here, Lord, it needn't be so grand. I never expected or had too much, But, if you don't...I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne, where saints had often trod, as 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."

Thank you.


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