Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Measurement of Time in New York Minutes

And in these days
When Darkness falls early
And people rush home 
To the ones they love.
You better take a fool's advice
And take care of your own.
One day they're here;
Next day they're gone...
-"New York Minute" 
Don Henley

In the larger scheme of things what difference can fourteen days possibly make?  Against the backdrop of the totality of the days that comprise the average lifespan of human beings, what possible significance can a small sampling of time such as fourteen days possibly have?  

Fourteen days ago, on the afternoon of Saturday, December 20, 2014, Police Officer Wenjian Liu, at thirty-two already a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, was assassinated with his partner, Police Officer Rafael Ramos, as the two officers sat parked in their marked police vehicle at an intersection in Brooklyn.  Fourteen days ago, Officer Liu and his new bride, Pei Xia Chen, married just this past September, were preparing for their first Christmas together as husband and wife.  Twenty years earlier, on Christmas Eve 1994, then-twelve-year-old Wenjian Liu had arrived in America with his parents.  

This weekend, an exceptionally brave and gracious young widow shall be joined by her family, her husband's family, the NYPD family and well-intended strangers from both near and far, in saying goodbye to this NYPD hero at, first, his wake today and, thereafter, his funeral tomorrow.  Christmas likely passed without notice in Officer Liu's home this year.  New Year's Eve likely did as well.  There were no celebrations for which to prepare.  Only this weekend.  

Wenjian Liu and his family settled in New York City upon their arrival. Officer Liu graduated from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and attended college in both Staten Island and Brooklyn - he earned an Associate's Degree in Accounting from Kingsborough Community College in 2006 - before entering the NYPD Police Academy, from which he graduated in 2007.  He had served the City he called home faithfully for seven years at the time of his murder.  So faithfully in fact that on the afternoon of December 20, 2014, he was working a "fill-in" shift.   

What difference can a period of time as seemingly insignificant as fourteen days make in the life of the average person?  One so large that it is impossible to quantify...

Police Officer Wenjian Liu - NYPD
End of Watch:  December 20, 2014

...especially when teardrops are the unit of measurement. 

If you find somebody to love in this world,
You better hang on tooth and nail.


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