My United Hometown


I reflected earlier this summer – on our 4th of July holiday to be exact – on how the celebration termed as our ‘Independence’ Day seems to be lost at times to those of us that live in this great country we call home.  Lost in the sense that we may take for granted that freedom is not an entitlement.

As the news stories played out across our televisions this past Sunday, many of us recalled where we were on that fateful morning fifteen years ago.  Where we were, what we were doing when shock took over as we watched and felt the horror take residence in the heart of every American, young and old.

As I watched on Sunday, I thought again of our men and women stationed in countries across oceans, far away from loved ones, who are there for the sole reason of defending this county we move freely in.  Where we, at any time of the day or night, can choose to live our lives with the comfort of not having to worry of such things as missile strikes, combat zones or constant bombings.  Those soldiers are working and laying down their lives to ensure that freedom that all of us cocooned in safety can so easily relay into a ‘right’.

On Monday, in my mind and heart, those soldiers overseas became joint partners with soldiers of a different uniform.  Those wearing the badges of city and county police officers.

As the hours ticked by throughout the day, I kept watch for emails updating the condition of a police officer from my hometown who was shot while serving a warrant over the weekend.  Late Monday afternoon, we learned he had succumbed to the injuries.

And my hometown is united like it hasn’t been since 9/11.

Office Brackeen’s patrol car is standing guard at the police station, covered in flowers.  Our picturesque courtsquare is adorned in blue ribbons.  Restaurants are selling blue lapel pins to raise money for the family.  Students at schools throughout the county will be wearing blue in honor on Friday.  Off duty officers in full uniform are seen standing talking in groups all over town.  Facebook is filled with beautiful tributes.  Just to give you a visual.  Our hearts are broken for his wife and four year old daughter.  For all his friends and fellow officers.

We’ve all heard the news reports of officers killed in the line of duty.  And I am ashamed to admit it to be so, but until this tragedy hit ‘home’,  I had mainly been only aware of officers as my foot got heavy on the gas pedal and feared being caught.  Personally speaking, that is. Also, I remember telling my granddaughter that they are there for us to call if we’re in danger and need their help.

My, how things have changed.

In the volatile currents that are wrecking our society, these officers are truly soldiers on the battlefields of home.  Just as the soldiers overseas are defending our nation as a whole, these brave men and women step out each day into situations that can take their lives just as easily as those in the war zones of our world.  They are officers because of a heart’s desire to serve and protect – an oath they make to each of us.

I urge everyone reading this to examine your thoughts.  Have you, like myself, failed to give due respect to those who have sworn this oath?  I can say without a doubt that if I had to tally them into a column, the column would be headed as “Protection I’m Entitled To”.  The last forty-eight or so hours have opened my eyes.

This morning I actually saluted an officer driving in the lane beside me on the way to work. I realize as a civilian a salute may not be proper, but as each of us here struggle to come to terms with this happening in our own backyards, a salute summed it up for me in the space of moments I had in his eyesight.  I have awakened to a  great respect and appreciation for the protection they fight daily to blanket us with.  My heart goes out to them in a way like never before.  And now, with my granddaughter having been a part of the prayer vigil on the courtsquare Monday evening, I have a feeling she may be giving me a lesson on the freedoms they protect and not just there if we need them.

Please join me in searching out ways to let these protectors in our midst know that we stand with them, that we appreciate more than words can express the many ways they cloak our days in protection.  Chances are very high that we know very little of the actual dangers they have experienced in any given day.   I will seek ways to express this appreciation, but in the meantime, I will continue to salute.

My prayers and gratitude are with each of our soldiers.  Everywhere…


At Every Bridge Bringing Officer Brackeen Home


Saluted All Along the 45 Mile Ride


To Protect And Serve


United at Every Mile


Standing Guard








41 thoughts on “My United Hometown

  1. This post has been very poignant for me. I live in South Africa but recently visited your country on a business/short holiday trip and happened to be in New York on 9/11 this year. I also had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero.
    It is often in the aftermath of huge tragedy that God’s Presence is most keenly felt.
    My heart grieves with all of you at the senseless death of Officer Brackeen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen-Amein!! Wonderful Pictures of True Patriotism in our Judeo-Christian Nation USA!!

    God Bless All mu Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus ( Yeshua ) and Your Families and Friends!!

    Love Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My husband is a former NYC Police Officer and I thank you for your beautiful post. Fortunately, my husband took an early retirement and we moved away from NY years before 9-11 happened. My condolences to the slain officer’s family — what a tragedy! Another tragedy is that it takes terrible events like these to unite us. The only good thing to come from 9-11-01 is how united our country was for a while afterwards — everyone flying flags and trying to be nicer to each other and supportive of our country and our President. What the bleep happened since then? It’s so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So very true – it’s as if our moral landscape spiraled down with the towers and it sadly does take a new tragedy to stir us to unite again. But I must say, this one our immediate community is facing today has brought the cities in our county together in a way like even 9/11 did not quite reach. It is so tragic to feel such hope stem from this death, but nonetheless, there is a definite, almost tangible sense of communion arising from the ashes here today. Having lived in this area all of my 55 years of life, I know its quaint eccentricities and even in the midst of these awful hours, I, along with many, am sensing the social barriers to positive change dissolving and being replaced with a steadfast hope like never before.

      Even though I’m far away and it is almost impersonal, your husband was one of the soldiers I’ve mentioned in this post. Please, thank him for me for his service to our country. Sincerely.

      And never lose hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your very thoughtful and moving post is much appreciated. Since that fateful day, 15 years ago, I have made it a point to thank every police officer and fireman that I see for serving and protecting us with their very lives. It is a small gesture, but it is what I have to offer. I hope it makes a small difference in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From here in England, may I send my deepest Sympathy to Officer Brackeen’s Wife and young Child. Senseless loss of life, an Officer serving his Community, a Family Man. So much changed, the World over, on the fateful morning of September 11 – 15 years ago. The World seems to have become more disrespectful and taking others lives means nothing, except to their loved Ones left behind. I admire America the way in which you Fly your Flag, the way in which the majority stand behind their Country. Here in England, if one was to fly the St George’s Cross flag, the Flag for England, one is called a racist – how crazy it has all become.

    Thank you for your very touching Post and again my Sympathies not only to your Town but to Mrs Brackeen and her little Child, God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anna, for your beautiful comment. Yes, the gross disrespect does in fact seem to have spiraled downward with the towers on 9/11. My hope and prayer, and any efforts I can contribute myself, is in pockets of compassion that spring up so genuinely when tragedies such as this occur. The most disturbing fact of all is the bitter racism your beautiful country is experiencing as well. Outside of the phenomenal financial woes and natural disasters, racism defines the terrible atrocities all across our nation, sadly even the one my community is suffering now has currents of it very certainly running through it. My prayer is that we can all learn from the heartaches and work more sensibly and calmly together. And I do we believe that we, together with God, can make pockets of differences in our circles of influence.

      Thank you for your sympathies on behalf of Officer Brackeen’s family and our town and may God bless you abundantly today.


  6. Very well written! His death was so senseless and in the blink of an eye his family’s life is forever changed. The world has become so evil and I only see it getting worse! Our only hope is for our Heavenly Father to tell his Son “go and get your bride”. What a glorious day that will be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so often I find myself praying for His return. Thank you for reading and commenting! One of these days I’m going to literally surprise you and show up on your doorstep! I so long for family!


  7. Just the other day a female officer stopped her patrol car, got out, went over to a man sitting on the curb to offer assistance (if needed) he immediately took out a hand gun and shot her (fortunately she was wearing a bullet proof vest). He bolted and got away. The officer is fine a bit shaken. They risk their lives each and every day to protect and serve. A very heart felt post.


    • Yes, that is my hope as well. It has definitely moved me to actively come up with ways to show appreciation – – maybe a fruit basket to the station occasionally or something of the sort – – But with the outpouring our community is showing, I feel like there will be situations we can get more involved in as a whole now to keep them aware of our support locally at least. But never again will I hear of these atrocities and it not stop me in my tracks….Oh the complacencies that we could conquer!

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. Heartfelt post, this truly does serve as a reminder of not only the freedom we are able to experience but a recognition of the men and woman who risk their lives for us everyday. I appreciate the people who serve, but never thought about expressing my gratitude. From now on that will change. My condolences and prayers go to you and your hometown. Tim will always be a hero, thank you for sharing this story and creating awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

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