Tears streamed down my face as I sat alone watching the news coverage on TV. Now I find myself wondering, how is it that I can feel such sadness, such a deep sense of loss over the death of someone I never knew, someone I never met? I am not a family member, friend or coworker of the person whose life was being honored today, but I feel the pain his loss is leaving all those who loved him. And in watching the celebration of his life, which was his funeral, live on TV, I began to understand the loss I felt. The loss of this man’s life had both a private and a public impact because in the living of his life this man was making a positive impact both privately and publicly. No, he wasn’t a pro athlete, a famous musician, a well known movie or TV star or any other kind of celebrity that we love to worship in our culture.
He was an ordinary man, living an ordinary life with conviction, compassion and courage, day in and day out. People that knew him were the better for it, he made the world a better place every day. And that, dear readers, is extraordinary. There is nothing ordinary about the legacy he leaves behind, for others to learn from and to follow in his footsteps. This man was a public servant, a policeman. He took his job seriously, trying to make the world a friendlier, safer place for each and every one of us. By all the personal accounts given at his funeral, he was succeeding each and every day in doing just that.
The outpouring of community support testifies to the impact his daily presence was having on the people he served so faithfully and selflessly. It is fitting that he should be honored, acknowledged and appreciated. I only wish we would be more intentional and diligent in appreciating those who serve us and protect us while they are still with us. I regret that it takes a tragedy to bring the community together in support of our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for us every day. We are silent too often, silence is never mistaken for support.
I feel the loss today and I am not alone. Law enforcement officers came from all over the country and they did not know Lt. Allan personally either, but they feel the loss as well. We are all more connected than we know and for some reason a tragic loss like this one allows us to realize and experience those connections, if only for the brief hours we grieve together, not wanting to be alone in our loss. There is comfort in knowing others are sharing your experience. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. Lt. Allan lived his life with meaning and purpose because he lived not for himself but for his family, his friends and his community. Today his community expressed its’ gratitude loud and clear for all to see.
How is it I feel his loss so personally? My own dad was a police officer. There’s a connection there. But there is more to it. An assault on one doing what is right is an assault on each of us who would uphold law and order and freedom and justice. We all lost something today with the death of Lt. Aaron Allan.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Thank you Lt. Aaron Allan, for your service and for the legacy you leave us. You made the world a better place. May others follow in your footsteps.
sincerely, Grace Day