Never Forget and Never Again

The colors of red, white and blue are mirrored in our American flag. White signifies purity and innocence, red connotes valor, blue represents the chief. The broad band above the stripes signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The star is a symbol of the heavens, of the divine goal to which man yet aspires. And the stripe signifies rays of sunlight streaming down.

The red, white, and blue colors of our nation's flag are shared with those of the people of France -- a tangible reverence proudly waving from the porches of our homes and the flagpoles of our buildings. In these two flags our connection to all Parisians is also symbolized. They are our brothers and sisters, and they have suffered great loss. Yet, they stand strong in their conviction to remember, renew, and hope for a better tomorrow.

The horrific incidents in Paris once again demonstrate the strength and tenacity of our humanity. These two character traits were exhibited on 9/11 and in the aftermath of each terrorist attack perpetrated around the world. From every corridor across the globe, the cry has been heard regardless of border. Pain suffered by one is pain felt by all.

For most of my life, I have been blessed with a warrior's spirit. When there is any sign of danger, I rush toward it instead of running from it. As a child, my dad nicknamed me "Tiger." His affectionate nickname also reminded me to think twice before I acted. Dad was aware that I was always swift in overcoming any perceived threat. And so it prevails in my present life; the inner tiger still exists. She wails in anger at the terrorist acts in Paris -- a reminder of 9/11, the Boston Marathon, and other heinous acts that have caused the world to grieve.

Although I have expertise in law enforcement, I was never fortunate enough to serve in our military -- a chosen calling for which I have great respect. If I had been born in an era that permitted women to go into battle, I would have enlisted in the Army in pursuit of my father's path.

I do not profess to be a military strategist, nor am I experienced in the ways of war. I am, however, knowledgeable about violence and have witnessed all too many horrific acts while wearing the blue. During my tenure in law enforcement, I spent over 20 years studying violence, learning how to prevent violent acts and intervene in a crisis. In that journey to comprehend the causes and effects, I had the privilege of working with a myriad of others who too sought answers to the elusive "why." Like most, I learned that there is no one answer or easy solution to ending violence -- especially in times when fear is a predominant factor and religious dogma is spewed as a means of justifying actions.

I believe that there is a time and a place to be a warrior. There is a time to strategize, to comprehend the new meaning of war. Is it necessary to believe that the "boots on the ground" approach is the only response? Or is it better to look for other means to cease the threat against our nation and the entire world? In listening to politicians recently on a favored news program, I was intrigued by the varied theories for eradicating the menacing forces -- none of which provided me with a sense of confidence about the preferred tactic.

As a child, my parents instilled values of God, country, family, and serving the greater good. My parents also taught the power of one voice to make change. The power of one human being speaking loud enough to effect change for the entire world. Individuals such as; Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa and William Wilberforce are just a few whose lone voices prompted action by entire nations.

If we are to cease the threat that perpetrates our world, we must devise a strategy that permits the salvation of the innocent while eliminating those who threaten our very way of life. We must move forward in unity, with one clear message: "Never forget and never again."