Something most everyone knows is that King Ralph is a police lieutenant. Something most people don't know is that I keep one dirty white undershirt of his at all times. I started this years and years ago when a rash of suburban police officers' lives were being taken in the line of duty. In my young married years I was naive to the idea that King Ralph's life could ever be in much danger--the bullet proof vest was just a fashion accessory worn to induce sweat. He works in a white-suburban-cookie-cutter-community, so what could ever go wrong. Right? Wrong! Crime knows no boundaries. Crime doesn't care if you live and work in the inner city or in an affluent community. It was when officers in suburban communities were losing their lives to senseless crime that I wanted to be prepared in case the scent of my spouse would be stolen from me. I want to be prepared to smell that musk like deodorant that clings to the cotton fibers that is, his, scent. And. So. One dirty T-shirt at all times it is.
Monday night the school district put on the Annual Veteran's Day concert that supports the Backstopper's; an organization that assists families of fallen police, firefighters and EMS workers. A troop of color guard girls clad in green velvet welcomed veterans and district residents. An orchestra played. The elementary school aged choir singing patriotic tunes in voices that sweetly struggle to increase volume and turn to slight shouts. Innocent cuteness. There was the high school acapella choir whose voices sounded like a symphony of angels--so beautiful words hardly describe. There was the marching band who flooded the auditorium playing "God Bless America", followed by a medley of the armed forces theme songs. With each branch's song that was played the veterans [and active duty] in the auditorium were asked to stand and be recognized, honored. The Navy grabbed prize for the branch best represented. Then I noticed, what we all do, I am sure, that there is an unspoken brotherhood among our WWII veterans. As the band played Anchors Aweigh men in there eighties, strangers to one another turned, reaching rows apart to shake hands--a bond of brotherhood that only their hearts understand but we appreciate. It leaves me asking why the Generation X'ers can't have that same kind of military brotherhood? The evening ended remembering the men and women that the Backstopper's exists for as a police department's bagpipers played Amazing Grace.
Those names scrolling past remind me why I keep that single piece of dirty laundry. In some ways I like to think as long as that t-shirt is there full of its musk scent-- life is safe.
Who knows there may be a wife whose spouse is serving our country right now who also has a fabric of clothing laced with a familiar scent. What else is there say to that thought, except-- thank you, thank you for honoring our nation and protecting our freedoms.
Heroes of different kind, yet both with the common goal to protect and serve, honored.