Aug 102016 27 Responses

The Rogers Avenue Salute

To my knowledge, I’ve never used this website for a local issue. A very low percentage of readers are from my hometown so I try to steer clear of local issues, but I’m making an exception. Yesterday, a county deputy was killed in the line of duty and I have a proposal of how he should be honored. If you are one of the 94% of people who read this, but don’t live near me–consider how you can honor your fallen heroes. If you are from my hometown, share this and let’s make it happen. 

My hometown is divided by Rogers Avenue. It’s the main road which runs through the middle of town. Nearly every major restaurant is on Rogers Avenue. Streets are numbered north and south based on which side of this one street they are on. Each year the two high schools in town play The Battle of Rogers Avenue.

It’s the main road and for a few minutes, I think we should shut it down.

In honor of the men and women who risk their lives on our behalf, I want my hometown to create The Rogers Avenue Salute. (See: Why Would Anyone Wear a Badge?)

When someone dies in active duty–military, police, or fire–I believe they should be honored with a tribute processional down the middle of Rogers Avenue. All traffic should be stopped and we should show our respect. We should gather along the road and show the family our gratitude.

Some might object–it’s a big town and that would be a tremendous inconvenience. Good. Shut it down. At whatever time necessary–in the middle of a busy lunch hour or in the middle of 5:00 traffic or on a the busiest Saturday of Christmas shopping season…SHUT IT DOWN.

If someone is willing to give their life for us, we should experience some inconvenience in honoring them.

The details can be debated. The last thing I want to do is add more work on those who are grieving (i.e. making law enforcement work traffic when they should be attending a funeral). Maybe it occurs as the body is brought back from the autopsy or is returned from the battle field. Maybe we can make it work as a part of the processional to the church or to the graveside. Maybe it should be part of the visitation the night before.

Whatever the experts decide regarding procedure, I believe there are rare times in which the whole community should pause and reflect. I think we should call it The Rogers Avenue Salute.

5 Reasons We Need the Rogers Avenue Salute

1. We need to honor those who give their lives for us. Every day, men and women put on a uniform and risk their lives on our behalf. It happens so routinely that it’s easy for us to forget the danger they are putting themselves in. When someone pays the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, we should honor their lives.

2. We need to show the family of the fallen that they are supported. Those who serve are not the only ones who sacrifice. Families experience an equal stress knowing their loved ones are continually at risk. When they experience their worst nightmare, their grief and sacrifice needs to be acknowledged.

3. We need to be reminded of the sacrifice of others. On occasion, our daily routines need to be interrupted when someone else suffers. If someone gives their life trying to protect our lives, we need to visibly be reminded of their sacrifice.

4. We need an outlet to express our grief. When tragedy strikes, citizens want to help, but we don’t know what to do. Many times, our efforts to express our sorrow can actually make things harder on those who serve. Communities need concrete ways to express their sorrow and support.

5. We need to teach our children to respect the sacrifice of others. If we do not do dramatic things to teach our children of the importance of what the military and LEOs do for us, they will never understand. An unusual demonstration on a large-scale can create lasting memories which clearly teach what we want our children to learn.

If this is a bad idea, let’s come up with something better. If there is a practical reason this would cause more harm than good, let’s ignore it. However, I believe it could become the highest honor we could pay to our fallen heroes. (See: 4 Things Never to Say to Someone Grieving)

Other communities close down roads for races or carnivals or for a hundred other different reasons. What if in Fort Smith we only shut down our main road for one reason–to honor the bravest among us.

This shouldn’t be the only way we help those who are grieving, but I think it’s a good start.

Let’s create The Rogers Avenue Salute.

27 Responses to The Rogers Avenue Salute

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