Fortunately, it was just in time to attend the Police Memorial Fund Candlelight Vigil in Washington, DC for our fallen officers. Never having attended Police Week events in DC, I had no idea what to expect. I can honestly say that it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Watching the families of the fallen gather around the memorial wall where their loved one's name is scribed was extremely emotional and nearly unbearable.
The candlelight vigil is an intense moment during the memorial and there are no words I can feasibly string together to provide a sensory re-enactment of what it was like to see the sea of candles held high to the sky symbolizing each of our fallen brothers and sisters.
It was in that moment I was reminded of all that is right within our Law Enforcement community. For all the disfunction that frustrates us within our own organizations, there is no substitute for the way we rally together when it really matters. The thin blue line is indicative of the band of brother/sisterhood that reminds us about the nobility of our chosen profession and the responsibility we have to take care of one another both on the street and off.
|Candlelight Vigil at Police Memorial in D.C.|
I've heard many stories about International Night from those who have attended the NA before me. But like anything in life, one must experience it on their own to get the full effect. Thus far, it has been the highlight of my time here at the NA (which is a significant statement to make given all that we've experienced together).
I enjoyed it so much because it was a treat to see the International students beaming with pride as they represented their respective countries. Some wore their uniforms and all brought food and drink and trinkets from their homeland.
|Nevada (left), Italy (center) and me (right)|
France and Italy were my favorite because I very much enjoyed the red wine and it certainly reinforced that those two destinations are on my travel bucket list. I loved the food from Pakistan and the Phillipines but what I remember most are the shots of liquor from Romania, Taiwan and Germany. The word "remember" is relative as my memory is a bit fuzzy after making my way only halfway around the "world" in a room in Quantico, Virginia. I'm pretty sure whatever I drank from Romania killed any lingering pneumonia in my system given that I felt fire as it went down.
It was a great bonding experience among our entire class and it was such an honor to get to know even more about our International friends and colleagues and learn that policing is truly universal.
|NA girls sharing a drink with Jennifer from Taiwan (left).|
About 100 of us spent the weekend on a trip to Philly and I have to say, the highlight of the trip is not what one might expect. John from Philly organized the events and he did a great job tending to the details so we would all have a memorable experience. But the best memory occurred at the Philadelphia Art Museum - the very location made famous for Rocky Balboa's run to the top of the stairs. I ran the stairs and threw my arms up in the air to mimic Rocky but let me back up to the moment our 3 vans and charter bus pulled up to the museum.
John got off the bus and kindly asked a cab driver (who had no fare) to move so we could park the bus. The cab driver did not respond in kind and started yelling at John. They exchanged words and the cabbie got back into his car, put it in drive, and proceeded to hit John with the car. It was at a low speed so there was no damage done but once our caravan saw that occur, we all poured off buses and out of the vans and surrounded the cab driver and John in a matter of moments.
I don't think the cabbie quite knew what was happening when the sea of cops surrounded him but I surmise he might have needed to wash his shorts after the encounter. The cabbie quickly realized his bullying tactics were no match for the mob and he timidly got back into his cab and drove away. Now, I thought we should have arrested Mr. Cabbie given that it is aggravated battery to strike someone with a vehicle but my comrades put it in perspective when they said the look on his face when he was being surrounded was far more effective than being arrested. Good point.
I learned how to correctly order a Philly Cheesesteak from Genos. If this strikes you as an odd educational experience, you've obviously never been to Philly and ordered cheesesteak as there is a strict protocol for this practice. It's a necessary skill to have in my humble opinion.
Onward to week 8!