What makes some children want to grow up to be heroes? What sparks their childhood longing to one day save a life? What sparks their desire to rescue a family from a burning inferno? Why can't every little boy or girl want to be an accountant or a musician?
Those thoughts came to me as I read about the shooting death of New York City Police Officer Brian Moore in Queens on May 2, and his funeral on Friday.
I did not know Brian Moore. At first, I thought that I was lucky to not have known him, but, as I listened to the news coverage, my tears fell warm onto my cheeks, and my heart quickened. I realized that I did know Brian -- and every Brian who has chosen to protect others, and serve the people. Two of my cousins are retired NYPD officers. A close family friend has been an officer since 2010.
As a son, nephew and cousin of police officers, Officer Brian Moore shared that seemingly genetic longing to be nothing less than a hero.
Brian was the epitome of the good son or daughter who chooses to risk his or her life each day to protect others. Brian was just beginning his law-enforcement career. As a mother of two grown daughters and a grown son, I can say he was the type of son whom I could, most probably, not dissuade from pursuing his dream of becoming a police officer.
Brian was not the first member of the NYPD to be slain in the line of duty. Commissioner William Bratton said it well when the department's Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were slain in December in Brooklyn.
"They were, quite simply, assassinated, targeted for their uniform and the responsibility they embraced," Bratton said.
How could anyone harm the very people who have sworn to protect us? My heart weeps and my mind cannot comprehend this!
Brian's alma mater, Plainedge High School, held a memorial on Monday night to show respect and love for the fallen hero. More than 1,000 people attended. Many hugged each other, remembering the happy young man. They came to show support for the Moore family and to pray together.
In his Massapequa neighborhood, blue ribbons were tied around trees, and blue porch lights shone in the evening. All these sincere gestures of love will not bring Brian back.
Thousands of officers came to attend his funeral Mass on Friday. Two days later, Mother's Day, I will mourn for Brian, along with his mother.
Reader Kristin Pappas lives in East Meadow.