Last week, the same day as the Sandy Hook massacre, a Memphis Police Officer serving a narcotics search warrant was killed. She was a mother to 4 daughters. Her partner was also shot, but thankfully, survived.
Memphis is no stranger to violence like this. My city has been voted to the top of several of the worst kinds of lists. But we’re also known as one of the most generous cities in America – ranking #2 of large urban areas.
This week, the Memphis Police Department organized what they called a Sea of Blue through a section of interstate and Shelby Farms Park to Hope Presbyterian Church. It’s along this route that many merry-makers go to see our local Holiday Lights show, Starry Nights. People line up in their cards during the weeks leading up to Christmas and the New Year and they wait and watch. I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate place for the Sea of Blue to traverse.
My timing was impeccable, and I was able to sit at the front of the traffic light where the Sea of Blue exited the interstate towards Shelby Farms. I sat in my car bearing witness to the event honoring the slain officer, and I started to notice that while there were a ton of MPD cars driving by there were also quite a few others mixed in. By no means a comprehensive list, as there were so many, and they went by so quickly, that I could have easily missed a locale, here are the areas that sent blue lights to honor the service and life of Officer Lang:
- Shelby County
- Fayette County
- Memphis International Airport
- Pipertown (I’d never heard of Pipertown, but they must have sent every car they had)
- Tennessee State Troopers
- Metro DUI (I think this may have been Nashville, we don’t call it Metro in Memphis)
- Marshall County
- UT Health Sciences
- Mason County
- Veterans Affairs
- City of Arlington
- Coahoma County
- Desoto County
- Southwest Community College
- Christian Brothers University
- Hardeman County
- Madison County
- City of Franklin
- Crittenden County Sheriff
- US Navy
- West Memphis PD
- City of Jackson
- Memphis Protection Agency
- and TDOT rounding it off at the end.
It was amazing to watch so many different groups come together, to only hear the sound of the sirens as they went through the intersections (read: no irate car horns blaring – at least none in my area). I think we sat there for 40 minutes as they blued out the streets, a reminder of service and dedication to a community that ultimately required her all. I’m grateful to the MPD for doing this, and I’m honored to have been in the right place at the right time to see it. Here’s to a Holiday Season where we all appreciate who we have more than usual.