This post is part of our on-going #WhyIWearTheBadge Wednesday blog series.
“Son… serve these people with everything you have.” I can still remember those words being whispered to me in Arabic by my father on the night of my Police Academy graduation. Why I wear the badge requires a multifaceted answer, an answer that stimulates a rush of emotions that are incredibly difficult to accurately put into words, but it is my duty to try. I was born in an area south of Beirut, Lebanon, during its bloody civil war. I was born to a father who fought for our safety and a beautiful mother that spent many of her nights shielding us in poorly built bomb shelters underground. My father is a man of great integrity who waited decades for a simple green card in order to get his wife and four children out of the path of danger and to the “Land of opportunity.” He overcame adversity of family members murdered and his homeland ravaged to no comparison. The stories I have to tell are scars that words cannot suffice to accurately explain.
I can still remember our first day in America; we were taking pictures at a McDonald’s in our euphoria! We did not care who was staring or laughing at us, we were in America and safe from the poverty and dangers of our past. I recall walking around at a young age thinking how peaceful and beautiful this country was and how blessed I was to be living in it. As I entered high school, my family and I moved to Woodway, Texas. After high school I left home and eventually acquired a Master’s of Science Degree and became a Public Safety Officer with the City of Woodway. My life has been peaceful; I look at the news of my homeland and look at the path I could have gone down, and I thank God that He saved a sorry sinner’s soul like mine every day.
There is one experience that stands out in my mind that really impacted my decision to join law enforcement and it was the events of September 11, 2001. Everyone knows where they were that moment, but all I can remember is how I felt. I was 14 years old and the anger I felt mixed with the love I felt for my country forced me to make a decision that I would give back to it in some way when I was old enough to do so. I had never seen my father, my hero, show as much emotion as he did on that day; his love for the United States is a love formed out of a comparison to his past and his experiences. My father knows what freedom and safety means; therefore he knows what love for this country is.
So why do I wear the badge? I wear the badge to assure that the streets of this country will never turn into the streets of the country I was born in. I will give my last breath to assure this. I wear the badge to shatter preconceptions of law enforcement; to show kindness in the face of ridicule and animosity towards the badge. I wear the badge to be THERE even if I am hated simply because of the uniform I wear; to freely assist anyone in need regardless of the stereotype they place on me and regardless if they do to me what they do not want done to them. I wear the badge to be a beacon of light in a crumbling world; to show the love of Christ through the work of my hands. The badge is something I wear in order to minister to those in need of the good news. I wear the badge to give back to a country that has given me absolutely everything. This badge is worn as a testament of a Lebanese immigrant who came to America at the age of 3 with a father who had only $300 in his pocket. To show that this country does not discriminate against anyone who performs with the absence of excuses. To show that the best way to change something is to not complain about it, but to become part of it and create the change yourself.
I am 27 years old and I wear my badge for YOU, regardless of who YOU are. I will continuously respond and protect you regardless of how you feel about me. I love you and your safety is my responsibility because I wear this badge. I will protect you from the wolves at any time and at any cost. I am your public servant, and I wear this badge as a reflection of the trust you have placed in me. I wear this badge as an illustration of my honor and duty to you. I could go on and on, but as I stated in this introduction, why I wear this badge requires a multifaceted answer, an answer that stimulates a rush of emotions that are incredibly difficult to accurately put into words, but I have tried.