Let’s Use September 11th To Honor Our Law Enforcement [Op-Ed]
It is the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. A lot has changed. We've fought two wars, along with the generic War of Terror, introduced new surveillance programs, and have gone into further debt as a nation.
But one thing we fail to do as a nation is to honor those who we depend on to enter uncertain circumstances and risk their own lives to be our first line of defense.
Hundreds of firefighters and police officers died the morning of September 11th, 2001 in response to the attacks. But it is not just terrorist attacks that put our first responders in harm's way. Since the first records in 1791, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says over 19,000 officers have died in the line of duty.
We see our police officers every day on streets and highways all across America enforcing laws that many of us agree need to be enforced and some that we may question. However, these are our communities' first line of defense for threats that come to our area or when life around us turns upside down in a tragedy.
This past April, we had what could arguably be described as the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 at the Boston Marathon. Despite the tragedy and the horror that swept across New England and the rest of the nation, Boston Police had to control the situation and protect the residents and visitors of Boston and surrounding communities.
They were the first line of defense against rogue domestic terrorists.
The events that ensued left an entire city and nation fearful about where these terrorists were. There was an unknown enemy among the public who could strike at any moment.
But, the Boston Police did their job, hunted down Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Outside of events like 9/11 and domestic terrorist attacks (i.e. Oklahoma City Bombing, etc), the United States has not had an attack on domestic soil since Pearl Harbor.
We honor and celebrate the members of our military for the fine work and dedication they have to protect our nation overseas, however this has overshadowed the very people who defend us everyday here at home.
If you were to ask a random person who they thought of more highly, a soldier or a police officer, who would they choose?
I'd guarantee they say the soldier. It would be a correct answer, but it shouldn't be the only correct one.
We bemoan and sometimes even despise the police because we see them as people who want to arrest us or "abuse" their powers. We have hidden cameras all over the place, give cops a hard time, and accuse them of anything we can think of. This is how we treat our defenders.
We honor our military heroes. Let's honor our law enforcement heroes.
Let's honor the people who run into a public high school in chaos after a student's stabbing spree without a second thought. Let's honor the people who have to go into their own neighborhood to find two unstable, ruthless killers who already killed innocent bystanders and one of your own. Let's honor the people who will stand upon the rubble of one of their iconic landmarks picking through the remains and random body parts to see which finger goes with what leg.
Let's use this September 11th to remember the firefighters and police officers who lost their life defending our nation on our home turf. They are the ones we turn to when things go wrong. Everyday.