There’s no doubt that the world has lost some great people in 2016, despite how we define “greatness,” and whatever we think about their particular art or opinion.
Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, John Glenn, Gene Wilder, Nancy Reagan, Merle Haggard, Craig Sager, Abe Vigoda, Shimon Peres, Glenn Frey, Phyllis Schlafley, Arnold Palmer, Justice Antonin Scalia, Cassius Clay, Leon Russel, Florence Henderson, Elie Wiesel, Allen Thicke, Juan Gabriel, Mother Mary Angelica, Chief David Bald Eagle Jr., Kenny Baker, Monte Irvin, Ralph Stanley, Garry Marshall, Morley Safer, David Bowie, Marvin Minsky, Michu Meszaros, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Robert Vaughn, Alan Young, Doris Roberts, Dan Haggerty, Pat Summitt, etc., to name a few.
Far less known, however, are the names of those we should also be broadcasting and memorializing because of their outstanding service to our world.
These are only six of the 135 fallen police officers who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty in 2016.
The annual report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, or NLEOMF, came out last week and reported that: “The 135 officer fatalities in 2016 are a 10 percent increase over the 123 who died in the line of duty last year and is the highest total since 2011 when 177 officers made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The report delineates those monumental losses this way: “Among the states, Texas had the highest number of officer fatalities, with 17, followed by California with 10, Louisiana with nine, Georgia with eight, and Michigan with six. Six federal law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2016, along with four from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and one tribal officer.”
“Six of the fallen officers in 2016 were female. Among the officers who died this year, the average age was 40, and the average length of service was 13 years.”
I encourage you to pause and reflect upon their photos and personal information listed on the NLEOMF‘s website, and then applaud their accomplishments and sacrifice.
But why haven’t mainstream media venerated those heroes the way we do for those on stage and screen? I think media outlets should also run slideshows of these culture heroes at the end of the year in the same way they do celebrities who have passed away.
NLEOMF President and CEO Craig W. Floyd explained to Breitbart News: “Public safety is a partnership and, too often, the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement professionals is taken for granted.”
Floyd added, “We must never forget that 900,000 law enforcement officers nationwide risk their lives every day for our safety and protection. And, this year, 135 of those men and women did not make it home to their families at the end of their shift. As we begin the new year, let us all resolve to respect, honor, and remember those who have served us so well and sacrificed so much in the name of public safety.”
Among our resolutions for 2017, I propose that Americans everywhere resolve to better venerate and respect peace officers, including our Border Patrol agents and National Guard members, as the real celebrities in our culture. And, of course, we should never leave out our amazing U.S. servicemen and women in every branch of the military.
Support your local law enforcement. Extend a hand of gratitude to those who serve in your neighborhoods, and thank them for protecting your community from crime, criminals and other thugs. And support other agencies that support our officers, too.
Together, my wife Gena and I support Toni Pickens (Boone Pickens wife) organization called Operation Blue Shield, as well as Crime Stoppers of Houston and the North Texas Crime Prevention Association. In 2016, we even attended the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas 138th Annual Training Conference & Expo at the Gaylord in Dallas.
And what about commending the families of law enforcement officers, those who daily say goodbye without the complete assurance that they will see their loved ones at the end of the day?
And what about the score of families across our country who have multiple members among their families serving in their communities?
For example, David and Linda Bellamy are parents of three married sons and fathers, two of whom, Sean and Ryan Bellamy, are exceptional police officers in the Davis Police Department in California. Ryan has advanced the ranks to detective, while brother Sean was “Officer of the Year” in 2014.
Congrats, Bellamy brothers! And thank you for your ongoing service, as well as for the rest of families who have multiple loved ones serving other communities in all 50 states.
It is all of these who show incredible courage every day of their lives. It is all of these who daily risk life, limb and loved ones not only to protect our freedoms and way of life but also the very citizenry of our great country.
As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: that one would lay down their life for another.”