That one blue ribbon. I saw it as soon as I topped the hill. There were no other mementos. No other ribbons. Just one thin, blue ribbon tied at the end of the monument.
And I wondered. I wondered who tied on that ribbon. I honestly don’t know why I wondered who it was, because I know exactly who tied it there.
It was someone who loves a police officer.
It was someone whose husband, brother, dad, son, friend was taken too soon. Their name is etched in the cold, hard, angular metal and someone who knew them intimately tied that ribbon on. Someone who has placed a piece of paper over that name, gently rubbed a pencil over the etched inscription, and hoped against all hope that somehow the transfer of a name and date would keep the good memories alive. And erase the bad. Someone tied that ribbon on in an effort to never forget.
It was someone who has used the badge number they are standing under as a password for everything that needs a password. Someone who prayed they’d never be standing on that hilltop. Someone who had to grieve their loss in a public arena. It was someone who can’t possibly understand why and yet still asks why every day. Someone who was proud of a police officer. Someone who watched that officer put on his boots and walk out the door every day to serve and protect.
It was someone who knew that beneath the hard outer police shell was a soft heart. A heart who wanted to make a difference. It was someone who gave part of their own heart to a police officer. It was someone who was trying to speed the healing of a broken heart.
It was someone who didn’t deserve what they got. Someone who always knew it was possible for this to happen. Someone who knew their officer was truly called into the line of duty and also knew nothing could change that. Someone who accepted police shifts, long hours, public scrutiny, and dirty uniforms.
It was someone who understands what the thin blue line truly means. Someone who has two families– blood and blue. Someone who knows what a true blue blood is. Someone who is proud to be part of this exclusive club and who pays more dues than those outside the club would ever be willing to pay.
That one blue ribbon. I know who tied it there. It was someone who loved a police officer.