Saturday, May 15, 2010

Candles in the Park

The afternoon of May 14, the sky poured torrents of rain. As I finished making preparations for the "Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse" group's candlelight commemoration of National Law Enforcement Officers Week scheduled for 9:00 P.M. that evening, I began to worry about the continuance of the wet weather and its effect on attendance. After all, we had organized this event in just one week after I had discovered the close date of the National observance. With about 100 confirmed guests and a promising weather report from WLW radio in Cincinnati, I drove to pick up the candles.

I thought about many things as the rain fell: a relatively small turnout of 3,300 members of our Facebook group, a hastened delivery of public information, the soggy and wet park and the possibility, of course, of a rainout. I refused to dwell on the negatives, and, instead, asked the Man upstairs to be with our group this day. Soon, the rain stopped and the heat began drying the sidewalk. Things began to look promising for our dedicated team of activists to honor our enforcement personnel.

Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner, Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini, and Ohio State Patrol Sergeant John Howard were to address the citizens and pay their tributes to local and state peace officers. These men lead units that fearlessly protect the people of Scioto County. Law enforcement not only demands our respect for risking great danger but also deserves our loyal recognition for their superior achievement. I hoped we wouldn't let the units down in their solemn tribute.

I only hoped the citizenry of this depressed, often misinformed area would rally to understand the unbelievable pressures and problems faced by officers of the peace. In fact, I believe part of our duty as concerned citizens is to be vigilant as well as patient considering the limited resources Scioto enforcement has to combat crime. That problem drains our meager forces along with the demands of dealing with governmental issues that take valuable time from the acts of apprehending and restraining criminals.

9:00 P.M. arrived and a fairly small crowd attended a dry program in Tracy Park. As the Portsmouth Police presented the Colors, Chaplain Dennis Dawes prayed for the officers, Horner and Donini and Howard gave remarks and read the roll of those killed in action, and Portsmouth High School Band Director Shawn Grehm played "Taps," we shared a flame ignited by the law enforcement branches of our area.

I considered for some time that evening if I could be a law enforcement officer. The answer to my own question was a sobering "No." In fact, almost everything about the job requires much more fortitude and patience than I possess. Then, I considered how good officers looked to me the few times when I needed them on the scene. Soon, it became incomprehensible to me how anyone could criticize the need for these special, talented people.

Maybe Tracy Park wasn't ablaze with hundreds of beacons of candlelight on May 14, but I felt a warm connection with all of the public servants of law enforcement as I held my candle. I knew that the "Good Guys" represented
something we all must embrace with our best efforts and our best understandings. Chief Horner, Sheriff Donini, and Sergeant Howard, thank you for allowing us to express our thanks to you. We recognize your tremendous efforts and undeniable courage. And, we pledge to work with you to fulfill our duties of public citizenry.

"Goodbye My Friend"


I must say goodbye

To my friend today,

Somehow I must turn around,

And walk away,

The heart knows

What it must do,

But how can I say goodbye,

To my brother in blue.


Alone now

I must make my own way,

Walk a lonely beat

With the coming day,

But my broken heart

Just wants to stay,

Lord, please give me the strength

To just walk away…

2005 by Lydia Warner Miller

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