A picture of Representative Al Green
Al G.
Democrat TX 9

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  • In the Line of Duty

    by Representative Al Green

    Posted on 2015-01-13

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    GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that I stand at the podium today to thank two Members of Congress who last week took the lead on LEAD. LEAD is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I want to thank Congresspersons Jolly and Reichert for what they did on last Friday in paying a special tribute, if you will, to the 900,000-plus who serve us as peace officers in the United States of America.

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to say that in my family I had an uncle who was a peace officer, and he had an influence on my life that literally changed the course of my life and set me on the course that I currently am pursuing. My uncle and I were riding along together, and I was asking a lot of questions. He made a statement that became indelible with me. He said: This boy is asking so many questions, I think he is going to be a lawyer.

    I was younger than 10. I don't think I knew what a lawyer was. I am not sure how old I was. I remember I was very young. But I also remember that if my uncle thought that being a lawyer was a good thing for me, then that was a thing that I should do.

    This was a peace officer, a police officer, a deputy sheriff that had a lasting impact on my life. I am so grateful for his service to his community and the way he has been an outstanding citizen in his community. His name is Dallas Yates.

    I am proud to tell you that when I saw these Congresspersons paying tribute to peace officers, police officers, I concluded that I would have to add to the Record some thoughts because there is a phrase that we use quite often when we reference peace officers. It is styled, ``in the line of duty''--``in the line of duty.'' And officers do so many things in the line of duty. Some of these things, quite frankly, are not things that they are expected to do, but they do them anyway.

    The Washington Post reported that two officers delivered a baby on Christmas Day in the line of duty. They were on duty when they did it. Officers are not trained to deliver babies, but when called upon, they take the lead to do what needs to be done.

    Think of the thousands of people who have been stranded and who were helped by peace officers: flood victims helped by peace officers, persons with something as simple as a flat tire helped by police officers, all in the course and scope of their duty. And then, of course, we have officers who have literally gone into fires to save lives. It has been reported that officers have done this. In fact, the Tulsa World recently reported that an officer saved a life from a fire in the line of duty, in the course and scope of duty.

    That phrase means a lot more than simply lending a helping hand. ``In the line of duty'' means sometimes that officers lose their lives. In this country, we had 27 officers die in 2013 as a result of felonious incidents all occurring in the line of duty. We had 49 that died from accidents in the line of duty.

    Mr. Speaker, when this term is used now, ``in the line of duty,'' to refer to these officers who make the ultimate sacrifice so that others may have a better life, you have better appreciation for what ``in the line of duty'' means. It is more than mere words. It means sacrifice. Many families have had to mourn the loss of a loved one in the line of duty.

    So I am proud to salute the officers--the 900,000-plus--and I thank the Congresspersons who led the discussion celebrating, appreciating, and commemorating those who have served and have gone on to make their transition in the line of duty.

    I think it appropriate to close with these words that express some thoughts about how we measure our lives and how the life of a person is measured and appreciated. Ruth Smeltzer reminds us: Some measure their lives by days and years, Others by heartthrobs, passion, and tears.

    But the surest measure under the sun Is what in your lifetime for others you have done.

    I want to thank the 900,000-plus officers for what they have done for others in their lifetime in the line of duty. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.


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