When I was in my early teens, I remember seeing this poem on one of my Dad’s FOP magazines. I held onto it forever, and I’m sure it’s still around somewhere. The very last part always stood out to me. Jake is being laid to rest today and his procession will pass both the high school he attended and the elementary school his wife works at. There will be a lot of children with questions. Take the opportunity to tell them about Jake. Tell them about Brothers YOU knew. Let them know that although some of us may fall, there’s a whole heck of a lot more of us holding the line, protecting them.
“Blood Upon the Shield“
Blood Upon The Shield
Confrontation in an alley. The Centurion does not yield.
But this time the good guy loses;
there is blood upon the shield.
And the mournful sounds of bagpipes
play out across the land,
drowned out by the sobs of a lonely young wife
and a child too young to understand.
While the killer pleads his case in court,
the thin blue line is one man short.
And we’re one step closer to society’s fall;
another cop’s name is engraved on the wall.
Another state funeral, with an army in blue,
and we know it could’ve been me and it could’ve been you.
We all look ahead to what the future has in store,
front line troopers in a country that’s at war.
At war with itself and at war with its cops and we’re
out there every day ’cause the battle never stops.
It’s not the way it is on TV shows or like
we learned in school; no cool music in the background,
no playing by the “rules;”
We’re disillusioned warriors,
but for right we’ll always strive.
We just pray that at the end of our stress-filled day
we’ll get back home alive.
You stand out on the corner
ignoring the insults and the stares,
close to the point of believing that no one really cares,
when a six year-old boy walks over after watching
you for awhile, reaching out to shake your hand,
on his face a friendly smile.
To him you are a hero,
a protector of our land, and he wants
to learn about you,
as a cop and as a man.
And when he asks you why your badge is covered
by a black elastic band,
tell him about our Brother
A cop who made a stand.