So… yesterday I ended up being at a track meet from right after school and got home at about 10:00 PM. Since we live with no internet, and it was late, I decided to post today! Hope you’ll all forgive me. And without further ado… here we go!
This week is a shoutout to my home state of Utah. Some of you may have burst into song at the title [your 5th grade teachers are welling with pride!!]… but in all honesty, I was so proud of Utah this week. Utah tends to be the end of punchlines about polygamy and ginormous families…. unless it’s the Sundance Film Festival and then all of a sudden Utah is hip for a few days and instagram becomes inundated with stars and stalkers loving on Park City. This week though Utah came together in a way that I think the rest of the nation would be both envious and proud of in honoring one of their own.
Earlier this month Utah Police Officers Richey & Barney were involved in a shootout which eventually injured officer Richey and ended Officer Barney’s life. Officer Barney leaves behind a wife and three children. As preparations for Officer Barney’s funeral were made, Utah made sure that one who protected and served this state selflessly, along with his family, would feel our love and appreciation. Flags literally lined the state, and thousands came out to show support for this fallen officer. In a time where riots and distrust of police run high, I was beyond moved and proud that I live in a place that would honor Officer Barney. Yes, I know this is not Chicago, L.A., Baltimore or Ferguson, but still, it was impressive.
On a personal note, the internment was held at a cemetery right next to the high school I teach at. There were blue ribbons tied on every tree and again flags lined the streets all the way to the cemetery. Our students were invited to dress up in honor of Officer Barney and guess what… they did. Literally almost all of them. I don’t know if you know anything about high schoolers and their track record for remembering to do things, but it isn’t generally the highest. I was blown away at school on Monday that nearly all of them dressed up. After school we lined the street as the funeral procession made its way. Our students stood in silent respect for a man they didn’t know. They held flags, brought flags and put their hands over their hearts. As the family and officers drove by they had tears in their eyes and many rolled down their windows and offered tearful thank you’s. Obviously it isn’t one of those experiences you can put into words, but watching these teenagers come together was moving.
So Utah, I’m proud of you. Next week you’ll probably be back to being the butt of Mormon jokes and I’ll probably be grimacing at decisions made this legislative session, but overall, there are GOOD people here. People that care. People that help. People that love…. As cheesy as our state song is, Utah really is people working together. You did some good for those families, this state, and in reality, this country.
P.S. If you’re interested in more of the details of the story, read this link “Thousands Gather to Honor Slain Police Officer Doug Barney“.