America must forever honor all of our fallen police, firefighters, and military.
These individuals who have offered the ultimate sacrifice protecting our communities and our nation deserve our eternal respect.
The clarion call of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg must be seared into the soul of each person privileged to call America home.
The Gettysburg address, written for the fallen military during the Civil War, is eternally applicable to all who protect and serve America:
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
America’s Fallen Police: A Deadly 2017
According to statistics memorialized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) the perils of law enforcement service continues.
Preliminary data compiled by the NLEOMF as of Dec. 28, 2017, cite 128 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2017.
Texas led the list of fatalities with 14, followed by New York and Florida, both with 9, and California with 7.
Forty-seven officers were killed in traffic-related incidents. Firearms-related fatalities were the second-leading cause with 44 officers shot and killed.
The remaining officers died as a result of causes including job-related cardiac events, drownings, being beaten to death, a helicopter crash, and as a result of an illness contracted during 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts.
Let us pause to solemnly honor some who have offered the ultimate sacrifice:
- Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Camilleri, California Highway Patrol, End of Watch (EOW): 12/24/2017: Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind by an impaired driver.
- Police Officer Marcus McNeil, New Orleans Police Department, EOW: 10/13/2017: Police Officer Marcus McNeil was shot while investigating suspicious activity.
- Sergeant Meggan Lee Callahan, North Carolina Dept. of Public Safety-Division of Prisons EOW: 4/26/2017: Sergeant Meggan Lee Callahan was assaulted and killed by an inmate serving a life sentence for a previous murder.
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
The dangers of serving America’s communities as a firefighter are enshrined on a wall of honor at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmetsburg, Maryland.
At this memorial is an eternal flame symbolizing the spirit of firefighters.
Plaques encircle the monument with the names of fallen firefighters.
The U.S. Fire Administration website documents the names of ninety-three firefighters killed in the line of duty in 2017.
One recent tragedy was Cory Iverson who died from burns and smoke on Dec. 16, 2017.
Iverson, a member of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s San Diego unit was fighting the Thomas Fire, one of the largest in California history.
This heroic firefighter is survived by his wife, a 2-year-old daughter, and another daughter on the way this spring.
Iverson’s tragedy is mystically connected with every fallen firefighter.
Aside from the tragedies such as Iverson’s inflicted upon the firefighter community, honor must be eternal for all involved with the 9/11 tragedy.
Although 343 firefighters died on that fateful day, the FDNY has lost over 150 additional firefighters.
These fallen “bravest of the brave” have died due to illnesses associated with fighting the fires and rescue operations at ground zero.
It is estimated that over 1,000 firefighters are now suffering from illnesses associated with 9/11.
America’s Fallen Military Heroes
Each year America honors our fallen military heroes on Memorial Day.
But the honor due to all fallen members of our armed forces must be forever seared into the soul of every American.
According to the Military Times website, some of our recently fallen military personnel, who along with fallen law enforcement and firefighters, represent the best of our nation, include the following:
- Army Sgt. 1st Class Stephen B. Cribben: Died Nov. 4, 2017, while serving During Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Cribben, 33, of Simi Valley, California, died Nov. 4 in Logar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.
- Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson: Died Oct. 4, 2017, while serving During U.S. Africa Command Operations. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, died Oct. 4 in southwest Niger, as a result of enemy fire. He was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The incident is under investigation.
- Army Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler, Died Aug. 16, 2017, while serving During Operation Freedom’s Sentinel: Butler, 27, of Monticello, Utah, died Aug. 16 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations. He was assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Camp Williams, Utah. The incident is under investigation.
America’s heart must eternally reflect compassion, respect, and honor for all our fallen.
The call to serve America as an ethical protector through the sacrosanct police, firefighter, and military professions deserves our nation’s perpetual honor.
There is a mystical unity with all who have offered the ultimate sacrifice for America, and all who honor their memory in their souls.
All who serve America, and especially those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice represent the character of our great nation.
May all of our fallen be eternally honored for each of them epitomize the immortal words that “there is no greater love than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen to Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.