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A Salute to the Uniformed Men and Women

It happened more than a year ago. I mentioned it before in my now defunct Facebook account. It was a private account, hence, not a lot of people here know about it except fellow American authors.

I am extremely embarrassed to write about it. However, it snowballed from a small act of kindness into myriad acts of kindness.

One fine evening, I passed out on the grass part of the sidewalk along Magsaysay Avenue. I was exhausted and I moved farther to the side because I decided to spend the night there. Yes, silly as I recall now but I was too tired to get home.

Then, I was able to snooze for a good enough time. Suddenly, I felt a nudge on my shoulder. It was a soldier. I thought I was dreaming and I thought I was in Italy. Why? He asked, “Are you Italian?” I became confused and I tried to go back to reality. I replied I am not, Sir. Did I do something wrong? He uttered, “Well no, the security officer saw you and he alerted us. It is dangerous for you to stay here.”

I trudged home since it is just a two-minute-walk. Until now, I just laugh about it. Much ado about nothing really but whenever I read the tagline “serve and protect,” I feel a tug at my heartstrings because of that little event in my life.

Since I work in the Media I rarely say that I do because I found out that whenever I do so, they become uncomfortable. To make them comfortable I have never written about them in my entire writing career specifically with the spotlight on them. Until now…

Today, I saw a lot of them manning the major avenues. There were many buses with people making their presence known for an agenda that had been discussed by other news networks. Regardless, the temperature was above thirty degrees and the humidity quite high. I remembered my ROTC days. I was young then so I could handle the heat. But now, with salt and pepper hair, I cannot stay out in the sun for too long.

Furthermore, their lives are always on the line. And I think about their families. And I think about my family. And I think about my own father. My late father was a soldier and left the army as a Major. He fought in a war.

I even tried his metal helmet. I saw a vintage communication device, a portable rotary phone. Upon retirement he looked forward to his veteran’s pension. I was with him when he applied for that pension and jokingly he told the Officer it would suffice his liquor drinking luxury.

Back to the present, times are distinctly different from yonder years. The women and men in uniform nowadays are walking on eggshells, more essentially, working and living dangerous lives.

Respect is always a given to them as they completed training and all the necessary credentials to be in that uniform. From my experiences, I should like to give them my trust which is the third level of respect. The level which is not outright given but rather earned.

It is upon them to show and investigate whether a citizen has a derogatory record or to put it in another way a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I know how difficult that could be, it is almost the same as applying for a U.S. visa wherein during the application process the burden is on the applicant to show that they qualify for that much wanted tourist pass or other applications.

Police and Military visibility is high, the chances for one to see a Police vehicle are higher than seeing Ambulances. What then are the ramifications of that?

First and foremost people feel safe and secure. Second, it is a deterrent against minor and graver crimes. As long as you fulfill your duties and abide by the laws of the land then as a citizen of our country you have nothing to worry about.

My brother who was a lawyer once advised me that the best case is no case. I have none.

Checks and balances are also in place to ensure commitment to the tagline “serve and protect” through the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).

With that I end my salute, with gratitude to the few nameless officers who helped a nameless writer who can attest that even if you do not work in the Media as long as you do not violate any law the Force is on your side.

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