I had the privilege today to attend the annual memorial service for Fallen Officers at the wall that sits west of the Capitol Building, upon which are metal plaques inscribed with the names of those who died in the line of duty. The service, held on a fine spring morning, proved sweet and sobering: filled with touching tributes, bagpipes, and prayers, “Taps” played sweetly from a hill behind the wall, but the most poignant moment for me came after the service wrapped up. As people milled around after the closing prayer, a young man–about the same age as my oldest son–approached the wall with his mother. When he pointed towards one particular plaque, Rep. Lee Perry, standing next to me, asked if he knew the officer or if it was a relative of his. “Yes,” replied the young man, “That’s my dad.” I paused to note the year of his father’s death–2003. He must’ve died when his son, now a grown man, was still a toddler.
We all take risks in life, but relatively few of us undertake that kind of risk–or make that kind of sacrifice–in the service of others. We owe them and their families a deep debt of gratitude, and our eternal thanks. Rest in peace.