Saturday, April 3, 2010

For The Once and Forever King

This morning on what promises to be a simply spectacular day at the Jersey Shore I am taking part in what promises to be a spectacular event. It is unfortunately an event whose roots have grown up stout and strong from the soil of sadness in which they were originally planted and have been watered since the beginning by the tears of loved ones. It is an event that in a world long on fundamental fairness and short on inequity would likely never have been needed.

One evening in mid-November 1997, as Detective Sgt. Patrick King of the Long Branch Police Department was waiting in his favorite little Chinese restaurant for the chow mein he had ordered, he was executed. He was shot twice in the back of the head. He was forty-five years young. Sgt. King was a husband and a father of two. At the time of his death his sons Patrick and Todd were 12 and 9 respectively. His wife Maureen was left to raise them alone.

Today for the first time I am taking part in the 5K race that has been established in honor of Sgt. King. At the Fool's Run in Manasquan last week - after mentioning to one of the nice folks from the Jersey Shore Running Club that I was participating in "the Sgt. Pat's" this weekend - she made a point of telling me that annually a fairly large number of law enforcement officers take part in this race. I am looking forward to seeing the various officers from the different departments who participate in this event this morning - gathering as they do every Spring to honor the memory of their fallen brother.

Anyone who has a family member in law enforcement empathizes with the King family. Empathizes while hoping like hell never to have to walk a step in their shoes. They are shoes that no one should ever have to wear. And they are steps that no one should ever have to walk. But because they do - and because they have had to for so long that Sgt. King's two boys have already lived more than half of their lives without him - this morning a few of us (including Gidg and me) will lace up our own pairs of shoes and cover a little bit of distance for them. And for him......

And for all of those we love who live the life that Patrick King lived. And who love it as he loved it. May they be kept safe this day and every day. And it's a ride, ride, ride, and there ain't much cover. With no one runnin' by your side my blood brother.

Today everybody runs by somebody's side. And no one takes a step alone.

-AK

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