"The Loss of Family in the Line of Duty"
Today, I witnessed the personal
emotions of a 7 year old little boy, the nephew of a police officer killed in
the line of duty. Who after staring for sometime at the enormous memorial quilt
on display, began to choke up. He was well aware of why the blanket was created,
and as his eyes filled with tears, he asked his teacher to please let him leave
the room. You could see the little boy's heart was breaking, as the tears
Soon after, my eyes were tearing.
The little boy was having a rough time seeing his uncle's name, a fallen hero
stitched on the security blanket he came to view. Others in the room were also
reacting as complete silence filled the room. It was an eerie silence, almost
like it was choreographed to happen at the exact moment it did. You could sense
many hearts in the room were touched by this little boy's emotional response to
the blanket memorial for his uncle.
Again, I am reminded of why I'm
involved in my quilt "Last Call Memorial Quilt." It helped to ease my personal
loss, the terrible pain of losing several friends in the line of duty. Two of
those officers were very close and dear to my heart. The experience became
traumatic, especially when they're close friends it gets up and personal, it's
like losing a family member.
After getting through all of the
sadness, it took some time to heal. I did not wish to ever attend another
funeral of a fallen brother or sister again. Of course, that was a naive thought
for anyone who chose to be a police officer; In fact, I was reared in a family
of law enforcement officers.
In July of 1998, it happened
again, a young trooper lost his life protecting my wonderful state of Louisiana.
I'll always remember looking up at the high rise bridge on the west bank of
Jefferson. What a sight that was, all you could see for some distance was a
steady show of blue lights - all the way to the top of the overpass. The bridge
was filled with law enforcement units with police officers, and state troopers
standing by and saluting as the profession passed in review.
My Taps Memorial site is
dedicated to Trooper Hung Le. It is with great sadness that not only do we lose
law enforcement officers, but fire fighters and EMS as well. Here it is only
June 28, 2000 and we have already lost 74 Law enforcement officers, 3 K'9 police
dogs. Misty was one of them and not only was she a K9, she was a fire dog as
Let our hearts never forget those
who have paid the ultimate price for us to live in relative safety. To those
courageous officers who took an oath to protect and serve, unconditionally.
With a love for the job that is
priceless, it takes the tearful eyes of a child to remind us, to open our
hearts, souls and eyes again to the killing that continues only too often. To
remember, that each patch and each name on the memorial wall never be forgotten.
Understanding there are too many officers lost each year, killed in the line of
duty. Our brothers and sisters in blue, who are also someone's loving Father,
Mother, Husband, Wife, Mommy, Daddy, Uncles and Aunts and even Grandmothers and
Those brave souls who have left
this earth but will live in our hearts forever. And will never be forgotten as
they did not die in vain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dee Dee Serpas is a retired police officer from
Kenner Police Department (Louisiana).
Currently, she is the President of the TAPS Memorial Web site.
Following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, Sheriff Paul Berthelot,
Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, and that of her father, who was
president of FOP Lodge 2 in the late 1950s, Dee Dee became a Police Officer.
First with the East Jefferson Levee Board Police, she also joined the Kenner
Police Department and was the only female to graduate from the academy that
year. Later, she joined the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office as a street cop.
This makes her the only known female in Louisiana to have held three commissions
at the age of 21. Her first book, Behind the Badge in the Atchafalya Swap
is due out soon.