I may not have known Officer Collier, but I do know someone just like him.
My son, AJ, is also a campus police officer. Sworn by the state of Florida. Dedicated to serving his community.
Officer Collier’s death reminds me that this sense of security is false. He puts on a bullet-proof vest, straps on a gun and a night stick and he goes to work to serve and protect just like Officer Collier did.
Just like the brave men and women of Boston, Tallahassee, Laurel, campuses, cities and towns all over this country.
These angels in disguise allow us to live lives of freedom and allow us to go and come as we please most of the time not even noticing that they are there.
And, today, I am mourning with his mama, who will never hug her boy again. With his father who won’t be able to go to ballgames or fishing or to the beach or whatever special thing they shared. And I mourn with his brother, Andrew, who has lost his brother, and if it’s like my boys, his best friend.
I’m saying a prayer for this family that God’s peace will surround them, that His love will comfort them and that His grace will cover them in ways they could never imagine.
Yes, their son is a hero. And may we never forget the sacrifice that not only he made, but that his family made as well.
And for all the officers in Boston today risking their lives to bring closure to a horrendous situation. Godspeed.
When AJ was a little boy, his grandmother used to quote this Psalm to him. It helped him sleep then, and today, it reminds him that God’s got his back when it seems like no one else does.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
I’m going to go hug my son and tell him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. Because today I can. And if it’s the last thing he ever hears me say, I want him to know how much his sacrifice means to me, and to the community and country he serves.