This morning I was happy to step out of the house, and step away from my radio, where I’d heard the most-recent horrid news story, a shooting at a mall in Washington State. I was still trying to process the facts of this latest tragedy while eating breakfast and getting ready to go out.
It has been an especially tough few weeks for gut-wrenching news stories, both locally and nationally, so, it sure felt good to get out in the cool morning air and let the wind whoosh through my ears, to air out my brain a bit.
Once out in the chilly air, I almost dashed back to retrieve something with sleeves, but decided that once those dark clouds parted, the sun would erupt and it would get warmer. Sure enough, the sun started to filter through the mottled gray sky as I walked by Ford Park. It was there that I watched a lone Canada goose standing in the middle of the little league baseball diamond at the park. The goose was bathed in pale sunlight. It didn’t stay still for long, because soon it was strutting (or perhaps goose stepping) around in the dirt. There was no grazing done, so I guess it was waiting for the rest of the team to arrive and join him.
As I turned the corner down Emmons Boulevard, the sun got bright and I had to shield my eyes. I noticed the sewer restoration project was over, so the big trucks were gone, but the dirt piles and fresh cement cluttered up the sidewalks and made it a little difficult to walk.
I think every squirrel in the neighborhood was out this morning, and they were pretty bold and brazen in their quest for acorns, as they were dashing to and fro across the lawns and into the street. I couldn’t look a few times when they scurried out and escaped a car tire by a hair.
I was looking for the “Reward for Missing Tortoise” sign that was tacked onto a pole earlier this week. It is no longer there, so hopefully he found his way back home again.
I’ve had to shave off the last long block from my morning regimen the past few days, since the sun is rising so late. Now, I have to leave later for my walk, and still return home the same time to start work at a halfway decent hour.
So, I vowed to cover all my bases and try to make up those miles on the weekend.
As I walked along, my mind a blank, suddenly I saw the flag hanging limply from its pole and instantly remembered Sergeant Steil.
I followed the sad story of this police officer who succumbed to a blood clot shortly before he was to be released from the hospital, just one week ago today. I watched part of the funeral online and was moved by the crowd and the smart salutes by white-gloved officers as the casket went by them. I watched the anguished look on his widow’s face while she held her young children close, as her husband’s casket was loaded into the hearse, just before he went for his final ride.
It was heartbreaking.
The crowds that lined the street reminded me of the funeral for three Detroit firemen who died in the line of duty, after a warehouse collapsed many years ago. From our office building, high above the street, coworkers and I stood at the windows and watched as the funeral procession travel through the streets of Detroit. From our perch, we saw the firetrucks, three abreast, and each bearing the casket of a fallen fireman, as they inched down the street while crowds were milling about.
Before I sat down to write this post, I Googled to find a story about those three firemen, thinking there would be nothing online since it happened long ago. But I found some information, and, I learned that the three firemen perished and ten were injured in two large warehouse complexes while fighting a five-alarm fire on March 12, 1987.
Coincidentally, in an eerily similar incident, two firefighters died in an early morning fire this morning in Wilmington, Delaware, after a floor gave way.
But I digressed in mentioning Sergeant Steil and the three firemen, because I wanted to talk about the flag, which made my mind wander a bit as I passed it.
About a month ago, as I travelled down the Boulevard, I saw something new on someone’s porch. It was a large American flag, but it was very different. The stripes were black instead of red; the background of the stars was black instead of blue. Notably, there was a thin blue line running horizontally just beneath the stars.
I wondered if it was sign of disrespect or even blasphemy to Old Glory?
I took a long look at it and made a mental note to Google the image of this peculiar-looking flag when I got home.
But what do you Google … “black-and-white-and-blue flag”?
Then, a week or so later, I heard a public service announcement about the thin blue line flag and the organization associated with it. Only then, did it rang a bell with me that the flag was police-related.
I Googled and discovered that: “the blue represents the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds. The black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.”
I don’t think I live in a vacuum, and, while I have heard of the Thin Blue Line organization, I’d never heard of this flag.
I found some peace down at the marina, where the sky was blue, the waters were lapping near the docks and the gulls were screeching at one another high overhead.
The man pictured above, also at the marina, found peace in an early morning boat ride.
I sure wish there was peace for everyone in our world.