I wish that I could take credit for the title of this piece. But I can’t and I won’t. It’s a play on a line I borrowed from a favorite movie of mine, “Full Metal Jacket.” Here is the entire line for you movie buffs: Today, you people are no longer maggots. Today, you are Marines. You’re part of a brotherhood. From now on until the day you die, wherever you are, every Marine is your brother. Most of you will go to Vietnam. Some of you will not come back. But always remember this: Marines die. That’s what we’re here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever.
I thought of that line in the movie shortly after chatting with my wife this morning online (my wife is the only person I know who can edit a version of “War and Peace” while having several “chats” at once. She takes multitasking to a whole other level). Her friend’s husband is a cop who was shot while conducting a raid last night. Thank God that he was wearing his vest and sustained no serious injury other than probably a little bruising. I’m only assuming this because it seems that the media in their city didn’t run this story. I guess cops have to be killed to make the news nowadays. There are more important things to report about like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and let’s not forget Jersey Shore and the exploits of Snooki or Pooki or whatever her name is.
Her friend’s Elizabeth’s story got me thinking of two of Nassau County’s bravest that were killed in the line of duty this past year, Police Officers Michael J. Califano and Geoffrey Breitkopf. I especially remember Geoffrey – he was one of my recruits when I taught at the academy. But Elizabeth’s comments describing how scared she was on her way to the hospital, not knowing what had happened, got me to thinking about another group of special and brave people: the ones who wait at home for those that they love, those that leave the security of their homes and the warmth of their families to do a job that requires them to strap a gun to their waist, a vest on their chest, and pin a shield on their outermost garment. Do we ever take the time to think about them and thank them for the sacrifices that they make every time they see their loved ones off to work, knowing that there always exists the possibility of getting a phone call like she did?
There have been 74 police fatalities in 123 days so far this year. We memorialize those who have made the supreme sacrifice so that they may never be forgotten. Let’s not forget those who were as not as lucky as Elizabeth and her husband.