My view today out of my window is clouded due to the tears. The sting keeps me blinking and trying to keep them open to try to gaze through the glass in the hopes that it was a dream. In my mind, I can still see the flag-draped body and still feel the pain in my chest as I held my salute. I try not to think and to use my real eyes to see but my mind has taken over, and the images come like raindrops from the sky, just drowning my thoughts and pushing me deeper into the feeling of despair.
Yesterday he came to work and thought it would be a good day. It wasn’t raining but wasn’t too hot. It was quiet. He was doing his job. His wife was going about her day as was his five-year-old angel of a daughter. He was out doing what he did best; he was being a guardian.
But a clock never stops and each second includes the possibility of a change in your future. Yesterday afternoon his clock stopped. Not because our God called him home from an illness. Not because he was going to pass after a long and enjoyable life surrounded by loving family and friends. It was stopped by a person who was purely evil. It was stopped by someone who represents everything that we fight against. A madman killed him for doing his job.
I still see his smiling face and recall numerous conversations about his feelings for this world and his hopes for his future as one of the modern knights. He had been here for only eight years. So bright of a future for someone who cared and who loved donning his shield and protecting those who could not protect themselves.
After an entire night of watching and waiting for the cold-blooded, brutal piece of vermin to surrender, after continuing to try to kill more of those brave souls, it finally ended this morning. He stepped out in one last attempt to do harm to those guardians who had come to avenge our friend, colleague, and brother. Our brother was avenged in a split second by the dedicated, steady hand of snipers whose job was to protect the rest and stop the madman before he could take another human life.
I want to feel better that it ended this way. That our friend could look down and feel satisfied knowing that it was his handcuffs on the vermin before it died. However, I know that that image may bring some feeling of revenge and symbolic justice to us, it would mean nothing to him. His gaze from above would be directed far from us and to his family. His wife who now tries to explain to her precious angel why her father would not read her a story tonight or ever again.
Her father would not be there to take her to college or to walk her down the aisle. Her mother would not get the chance to live out the rest of her blessed life with the man who she chose to be her beloved for the rest of their lives. Who had laid next to her in bed and shared his dreams of their future. That side of the bed is empty now, and in just one day we watched his flag-covered body leave her life forever. Never to touch and hold her again.
I held my wife’s hand last night and told her that I loved her. After putting the black stripe across my badge, I kissed her goodbye today and held her a little tighter and for a moment longer. It had more meaning today, as it does every time this happens. The reminder that today may be the day. She will try not to worry, and I will try not to think about it. I will try to continue to serve a society that does not always wish to be protected. That’s would he would have done had I fallen yesterday.
I give up on stopping the tears from coming. They need to come and to wash away those memories. My clock still ticks, and I still have a job to do. But each tick has more meaning. Each movement of the hands has more urgency today than it did yesterday.
Thank you for what you have done for us all Steve. Rest in peace and know that we have the watch for you know Trooper.