Imagine if I told you that I would pledge to protect you and your family for 20-30 years. That I would work weekends, holidays and all hours of the day or night.

I would miss birthdays, anniversaries and kids’ soccer games so you could enjoy those special times with your family. If you needed something, just make one phone call and I would be there.

If there was ever danger or a threat, I would run TOWARD the danger so that you could retreat safely.  And, if..God forbid…a situation called for me to put my own life at risk to protect yours, I would do so.

I thought I wanted to be a cop. As a young man, I was inspired and mentored by a Sheepdog who was a member of our church.

I enrolled as a Criminal Justice student at University and was taught by great Sheepdogs and studied alongside some who would become great Sheepdogs.  But after multiple ride alongs and two years volunteering on the graveyard shift at the County jail, I learned I didn’t have what it takes.  My patience for people doing stupid things and ability to process the extent to which some will go to hurt others meant giving me badge and a gun would have been a BAD idea.

That is why we should ALL be grateful for the over 900,000 men & women nationwide who DO fulfill that pledge to us.

Sometimes they have to make split second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death.  Very often you only encounter them when you are having a bad day as the results of your actions or those of someone else.  Sometimes, it is just because bad things happen. Their decisions mean your day could get better or worse.

On any given day they may be called upon to help bring a life into the world, save a life…or have to take a life.

The images, the situations they experience are the kind that sear into one’s memory.  Things that are extremely hard to lay down at the end of the shift, and for days, weeks, months and years to come.  YOUR bad day will rarely compare to one of THEIR bad days.

But thank God for the 900,000 men and women whose compassion and steadfast commitment to protect & serve stands as a shield between us and others.  The men and women of law enforcement are the thin but resilient blue thread that binds the fabric or any decent and civilized society.

When we encounter the men and women of law enforcement, in their uniform, we often don’t see beyond the badge. We don’t recognize that these are mothers & fathers, brothers & sisters..someone’s daughter or son.

We owe them our support.