Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Blue Lives Lost

 

This year, 137 American police officers lost their lives. A member of the emergency communications center in the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana suggested to the sheriff a special project to honor all of them. As a result, they set up a Christmas tree with 137 blue ornaments, each with the name, rank and end of watch date of one of the officers who died. Included in that group was Deputy Jacob Pickett from Boone County.

Officers from Boone County spent a weekend writing the names of those officers on the bulbs. Joni Scott, Chaplain of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, commented:

That’s a life. That’s a life that matters. That’s a chair that’s empty. That’s a car that’s not being driven. That is an incredible hero that’s no longer walking our streets, so it meant something.

The ornaments will be sent to the departments where each officer worked.

In a time when sheriffs’ deputies and police officers are often maligned and threatened, I commend Boone County for taking the step to honor all of those officers who put their lives on the line every day.

Blessings on those who died, whose families were left behind, and on the officers who served with them, and continue to serve.

There are 20 comments.

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  1. Kay of MT Member

    What a wonderful tribute! Thank you Susan for letting us know.

    • #1
    • December 16, 2018, at 7:52 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Thanks, @kayofmt. I was struck by the interview of the sheriff on Fox News. That was the only place where the source of the idea was mentioned. The emergency communications group is sometimes overlooked. I was so glad that he gave them credit.

    • #2
    • December 16, 2018, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Rodin Member

    As bad as it is 137 is, sadly, not above average. Looking at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund database there have been only two years this century with a lower fatality total. And before 2000 you need to go back to 1960 to find a year with a total as low as 137. And we still have a couple of weeks left this year for families to receive the most terrible news they could get. We pray for their safety.

    • #3
    • December 16, 2018, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    It’s tragic, isn’t it @rodin? Yet I wonder if this story will be in the mainstream media. We wouldn’t want to show sympathy for these folks, or gratitude for what they do . . .

     

    • #4
    • December 16, 2018, at 8:35 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    It’s tragic, isn’t it @rodin? Yet I wonder if this story will be in the mainstream media. We wouldn’t want to show sympathy for these folks, or gratitude for what they do . . .

    It’s an upside down world in America just now. 

    • #5
    • December 16, 2018, at 8:39 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. GrannyDude Member

    I think when my first husband died, the number was 167 or something like that? And it was considered a good year. The numbers have been coming down, largely due to improvements in equipment and training. My husband would have survived his accident nowadays because side-impact airbags are standard in police (and other) vehicles. I’ve got what feels like a strangely large number of friends and acquaintances who are alive because they were wearing body armor (still a novelty when Drew began working as a trooper). And of course, hospital trauma centers are better at what they do, too, and can somehow keep life from leaving even a badly damaged body. 

    What a nice remembrance those officers put together. Somehow, I bet the task of doing it felt good. I hope they all got together for the project, and took the chance to rest in one another’s company?

     

    • #6
    • December 16, 2018, at 9:49 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  7. Doug Watt Moderator

    Thanks Susan. Dispatchers are not only a lifeline for the public they are a lifeline for officers. Sometimes they will be the last person that will speak to an officer who has lost their life in the line of duty. It’s stressful, and sometimes a soul wrenching job. As one dispatcher in Oregon said, sometimes we never find out how the call ended.

    • #7
    • December 16, 2018, at 10:11 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    What a nice remembrance those officers put together. Somehow, I bet the task of doing it felt good. I hope they all got together for the project, and took the chance to rest in one another’s company?

    Since the officers were the ones who wrote on the decorations on a week-end, I hope they did the work together. Maybe they experienced just a little healing, particularly on the loss of their own deputy. Thanks for commenting, @katebraestrup.

    • #8
    • December 16, 2018, at 10:44 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Stad Coolidge

    Blue lives matter . . .

    • #9
    • December 16, 2018, at 1:45 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    I’ve never heard of using a Christmas tree ornament to honor a deceased person, but I’m OK with it. Making a whole Christmas tree into a fallen officers tree is a little strange, though, and seems inappropriate. Christmas has its own meaning, which is important enough to celebrate. That meaning tends to get lost already, without finding new ones to add on.

     

    There is a holiday specifically for slain officers, so maybe we should try to draw attention to that, instead.

    https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/peace-officers-memorial-day

     

    It looks like there is a bit of a trend of re-purposing Christmas to focus on fallen officers.

    https://www.bing.com/search?q=holiday+to+honor+fallen+officers&pc=MOZI&form=MOZLBR

    • #10
    • December 17, 2018, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard of using a Christmas tree ornament to honor a deceased person, but I’m OK with it. Making a whole Christmas tree into a fallen officers tree is a little strange, though, and seems inappropriate. Christmas has its own meaning, which is important enough to celebrate. That meaning tends to get lost already, without finding new ones to add on.

    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    • #11
    • December 17, 2018, at 8:50 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    The origin and meaning of the Christmas tree is debatable, but I don’t think its religious status signifies. As you say, it’s a trapping of the season. That’s a good enough to reason to object to a whole tree being dedicated to something, even something very honorable, that has little (or no) connection to Christmas.

     

    • #12
    • December 17, 2018, at 12:03 PM PST
    • Like
  13. GrannyDude Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    The origin and meaning of the Christmas tree is debatable, but I don’t think its religious status signifies. As you say, it’s a trapping of the season. That’s a good enough to reason to object to a whole tree being dedicated to something, even something very honorable, that has little (or no) connection to Christmas.

     

    Out of idle curiosity, I googled “themed Christmas trees.” Will it surprise you to learn of “cupcake” themed Christmas trees, or “patriotism,” “candy” “Barbie,” “Florida” (think Pink Flamingos) and “sports” ones too? Come to think of it, my Christmas Tree is pretty much themed “Our Family’s Obsession With Making Things.” 

    I think a Fallen LEO Christmas Tree is just fine. 

    • #13
    • December 18, 2018, at 4:50 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    The origin and meaning of the Christmas tree is debatable, but I don’t think its religious status signifies. As you say, it’s a trapping of the season. That’s a good enough to reason to object to a whole tree being dedicated to something, even something very honorable, that has little (or no) connection to Christmas.

     

    Out of idle curiosity, I googled “themed Christmas trees.” Will it surprise you to learn of “cupcake” themed Christmas trees, or “patriotism,” “candy” “Barbie,” “Florida” (think Pink Flamingos) and “sports” ones too? Come to think of it, my Christmas Tree is pretty much themed “Our Family’s Obsession With Making Things.”

    I think a Fallen LEO Christmas Tree is just fine.

    Coming from you, Kate, that means a lot . Thanks. 

    • #14
    • December 18, 2018, at 5:01 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    The origin and meaning of the Christmas tree is debatable, but I don’t think its religious status signifies. As you say, it’s a trapping of the season. That’s a good enough to reason to object to a whole tree being dedicated to something, even something very honorable, that has little (or no) connection to Christmas.

    Out of idle curiosity, I googled “themed Christmas trees.” Will it surprise you to learn of “cupcake” themed Christmas trees, or “patriotism,” “candy” “Barbie,” “Florida” (think Pink Flamingos) and “sports” ones too? Come to think of it, my Christmas Tree is pretty much themed “Our Family’s Obsession With Making Things.”

    I think a Fallen LEO Christmas Tree is just fine.

    It would not surprise me at all. Would it surprise you to learn that this Christian really, really doesn’t mind if people want to say “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas”? It’s because I know most people are not really celebrating Christmas. If their Happy Holiday is about Barbie or patriotism, then I’d rather they just leave Christmas to those who are interested in – well, Christmas.

    Not that I’m the Christmas Cop. I’m just some schmo on the internet with an opinion, like all the rest of you fine people. And that is the opinion I have to offer.

    I must say, though, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who disagree with me on this. No one’s accused me of bashing cops, which is pretty good, for the internet.

    • #15
    • December 18, 2018, at 7:13 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. GrannyDude Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I disagree. First, there is nothing religious about a Christmas tree. It’s a trapping of the season and isn’t religious. I think anything we do to honor those who don’t get enough credit is a wonderful gesture. I especially support this gesture, given the maligning of police officers. They are G-d’s children, too. And I happen to think that cherishing their service and dedication is generous and would be fair to do for any holiday.

    The origin and meaning of the Christmas tree is debatable, but I don’t think its religious status signifies. As you say, it’s a trapping of the season. That’s a good enough to reason to object to a whole tree being dedicated to something, even something very honorable, that has little (or no) connection to Christmas.

    Out of idle curiosity, I googled “themed Christmas trees.” Will it surprise you to learn of “cupcake” themed Christmas trees, or “patriotism,” “candy” “Barbie,” “Florida” (think Pink Flamingos) and “sports” ones too? Come to think of it, my Christmas Tree is pretty much themed “Our Family’s Obsession With Making Things.”

    I think a Fallen LEO Christmas Tree is just fine.

    It would not surprise me at all. Would it surprise you to learn that this Christian really, really doesn’t mind if people want to say “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas”? It’s because I know most people are not really celebrating Christmas. If their Happy Holiday is about Barbie or patriotism, then I’d rather they just leave Christmas to those who are interested in – well, Christmas.

    Not that I’m the Christmas Cop. I’m just some schmo on the internet with an opinion, like all the rest of you fine people. And that is the opinion I have to offer.

    I must say, though, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who disagree with me on this. No one’s accused me of bashing cops, which is pretty good, for the internet.

    That’s because you weren’t bashing cops.

    I understood the question you raised. As I think more about it, it’s not an unreasonable one. It is a funny American impulse, to shoehorn other stuff into Christmas—a co-worker told me he saw a Breast Cancer Awareness Christmas tree and yes, it was pink.

    My guess is that, energized by grief about their co-worker’s (Deputy Pickett’s) recent death, the dispatchers/officers needed a symbolic way to integrate their loss into ongoing life. That’s not a bad thing. We do this, as human beings, and it’s healthy. What I found/find is that the need to memorialize softens over time. Christmas will eventually go back to being Christmas, even for the families of the 137 police officers killed in 2018. Or rather, I hope and pray that Christmas goes forward into being especially Christmas for them, if you see what I mean—they get the blessing of loss, which is even more gratitude and joy for what remains. Which is, now that I think of it, part of the point of Christmas: After all, we know what will eventually happen to that little baby. And yet we take joy in him.

    But it’s a process.

    As themed trees go, this seems like a wholesome one and even, in its way, appropriate.

    • #16
    • December 19, 2018, at 5:36 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. GrannyDude Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    That’s because you weren’t bashing cops.

    Isn’t Ricochet lovely? People actually give you the benefit of the doubt and assume good intentions, like normal human beings?

    • #17
    • December 19, 2018, at 5:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    But it’s a process.

    As themed trees go, this seems like a wholesome one and even, in its way, appropriate.

    Beautifully said, Kate. Most of life is a process. A terrible loss at one moment becomes part of the whole tapestry, no less important, but part of the whole design. Thank you.

    • #18
    • December 19, 2018, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Rodin Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    I understood the question you raised. As I think more about it, it’s not an unreasonable one. It is a funny American impulse, to shoehorn other stuff into Christmas—a co-worker told me he saw a Breast Cancer Awareness Christmas tree and yes, it was pink.

    The reality of life is that there is both joy and sorrow, too often great sorrow. I worry about “ribbon fatigue”. When every sorrow is publicized, are all sorrows devalued? Our collective capacity to grieve is not infinite, so as we increase the denominator each slice gets smaller and smaller. And more and more ways must be found to get attention to the particular reason and import of that grief. Our more connected world ironically leads to disconnection.

    • #19
    • December 19, 2018, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    When every sorrow is publicized, are all sorrows devalued? Our collective capacity to grieve is not infinite, so as we increase the denominator each slice gets smaller and smaller.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem. Not all sorrows are equal. Seeing a dead deer on the side of the road makes me sad. But a friend dying is a different kind of sorrow. I think we are called to determine how to allot our energies to sorrow. I have a dear friend who seems to treat them all equally. She doesn’t know how to make those distinctions. And she is a in a lot of pain, a lot of the time.

    • #20
    • December 19, 2018, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 4 likes

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