I requested, and have been granted, the day off tomorrow in order to attend the services of Lt. Szczerba. This day will be emotional for everyone involved for many reasons. For me, I go to honor the man, his service, and to recognize the family, friends, coworkers and community's loss. It will be painful for me as I, and I am sure there are others, who will be reliving memories of their own. In this case, my cousin Christy Hamilton, LAPD.
For all of those in public service, EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement, we accept the risks and rewards of our chosen careers. And in the end when an LODD sadly occurs, we all know that "There but for the Grace of God, go I"
Requiescat in Pace Lt. Joseph Szczerba:
With confusion and a sense of displacement, he found himself standing in front of a pair of tall, wooden and iron braced doors. Without bidding, and as they had done too many times before, the heavy doors opened slowly, swinging back silently upon their well oiled hinges. He looked over his left shoulder at what was behind him and understanding slowly dawned. He slowly turned back to face the now open doors and paused momentarily...his heart heavy with sadness at leaving behind those he loved the most.
Yet, he held his head high and with a strong sure step; he entered through the doors; and as he did so, the sound of a thousand benches scraped across the floor, the sea of people who had been feasting at the tables, fell silent and rose to their feet. Suddenly and in unison, tankards slammed upon the sturdy oak tables with a loud and echoing thunder that was felt through the very soles of his feet, and the tankards were lifted high in honor. A thunderous roar ensued as a thousand and mores voices of heros and warriors, centuries past and present, shouted "Hail and Welcome Brother!" and he was absorbed into the neverending crowd with encircling arms as the doors silently swung closed behind him.
Another hero is welcomed into the Halls of Valhalla
I fear no God
I fear no pain
As my time has come
Entering the hall of the slain