The events of September 11th and the immense loss of life made me reflect on how fleeting life was and how dangerous law enforcement could be. During my time on the department and being married to an officer, we had lost officers to violence and automobile crashes. On numerous occasions, I had sorrowfully watched the missing man formations in the sky and listened to the sorrowful wail of the bagpipes. As I sat, watching the horror days after the event, images of grieving family members, crushed fire engines, ash covered police cars and officers and department photos permeated my life. As my husband put on his uniform and walked out our front door each afternoon, I kept replaying those images over and over. I started asking myself, If I never see him again, what do I want left unsaid or undone? I asked, Did I show him that I loved him or better yet, did I show him? Have I left resentments unresolved because I don’t want to take the time to deal with it? What have I done to make his stress less? Have I asked him how he’s holding up and what can I do to help him deal with this tragedy? How can we get through this together?
During the next few months, the love and community of the American people became apparent. We banded together to help and support each other. I wondered to myself how I could incorporate this into my own home. I couldn’t really do anything to ease the pain of the recent widows, widowers and children thousands of miles away. What I could do was hold tightly to my officer who I was lucky to have come home to me each night.
As a public safety communications operator and as an officer’s wife, the events of September 11th changed me. It created an appreciation for the work law enforcement officers do each day to protect us at the community level and increased my love of family. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I try to use this tragic day to remind myself to live each day fully, tell those who are special to me that I love them and to appreciate those who put their lives in harm’s way so that I can live with peace.
About The Author:
Michelle Perin has been a freelance writer since 2000. Her credits include Law Enforcement Technology, Police, Law and Order, Police Times, Beyond the Badge, Michigan State Trooper, Michigan Snowmobiler Magazine and Chief of Police. She writes two columns a month for Officer.com. Michelle worked for the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department for almost eight years. In December 2010, she earned her Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University. Currently, Michelle works as the Administrative Coordinator at Jasper Mountain a residential psychiatric facility for children. In her spare time, she enjoys being the fundraising coordinator for the Lane Area Ferret Shelter & Rescue, playing her bass, working on her young adult novel Desert Ice and raising her two sons in a small town in Oregon.