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In Memoriam

My husband watched part of the memorial for the fallen Santa Cruz police officers on television. He told me about the way that officers honor those they lost, similar to the “missing man” formation. They honor these men and women by citing their “end of watch”.

In the case of the officers in Santa Cruz, a dispatcher radioed the badge number of each fallen officer. The radio call went out,  asking for the officer by badge number. Silence on the radio was the only response. They called again. Silence. They called out one more time. Silence.

The dispatcher said the officer’s name, the date, and, simply, “End of watch.”

I was thinking about how often teachers feel a kinship to police officers, firefighters, nurses. We are sometimes lumped together as selfish public employees, and maybe that’s why unconsciously we feel a common bond — a union of strength and solidarity.

We also share similar motivation for what we do. We all take on jobs that many could not. We venture into the world steadfast in our beliefs that our presence will make a difference, empower, change, or even save a life. We do not do this for money or fame, but out of a simple belief that this is what we were meant to do. There is no other way. We head out into the world believing that we can do good, and the infliction of cruelty upon such a steadfast heart is unthinkable. When we lose a true believer, the ripple effect is unimaginable.

Grief is proof that we have loved when we need no reminder that we have lost.

We’ve loved. We’ve lost.

The members of the San José Teachers Association stand with the Santa Cruz Police Department in their time of grief.

To the officers we lost, we say thank you. We say goodbye.

To those they left behind, we promise to never forget. We will continue to believe.

We shall be worthy of their sacrifice.

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