ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – On Thursday, I was present for the Orange County Law Enforcement Memorial held in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Courthouse, an annual ceremony held to recognize officers who have died or suffered serious injury while serving their communities. For me it was a time to show respect, reflect on a profession that I truly love and to see many faces that I had not seen in many years. It was a good time gathering with old friends.
As honor guards “posted the colors” and the sound of bag pipes were heard at a distance, I watched as the leadership from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police Department and many other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies marched in to take their seats. It was at that moment I started getting another feeling, one that was real and somber. As the ceremony proceeded, there was a moment in which the names of fallen officers were read aloud and candles were lit in a symbolic act of rememberance. I recognized so many of the names and knew many. It was a time of sorrow. A time the words “hero” and “unselfish” meant so much to me.
Law enforcement has always been a dangerous occupation, but many have sacrificed their lives for the lives of others. They sacrifice themselves for the people in their communities, and even for those who resent them. In a time where the relationships between officers and communities are strained and negative headlines of police abuse are constantly in the media, law enforcement officers as a whole have been unfairly targeted in many cases nationally. The negative stigma jumps out first whenever there is an article involving law enforcement activity. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter have been posted and chanted throughout the country over the last few years, but in reality, all lives matter. We all will be better off when we understand that good people die everyday at the hands of bad people, but regardless of who it is, good lives should be honored and given respect.
As a retired law enforcement officer and a member of the Orange county community, I was glad to be on hand to give honor and remember those during this special event. I listened to the son of a fallen Orange County Deputy speak about his father and how much his father meant to him. I watched as candles were lit and “TAPS” was played. I also had an overwhelming flood of fresh air come over me. It was truly a good feeling to have served and now show my respect to those who have given it all.
Jim Randle is a contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org