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2,983 Shades of Blue

No day shall erase youI just returned home from New York City, the third time I have had that opportunity. My first trip, in 1980, included having dinner on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, as one of the highlights. I was a 16 year old kid in awe of the city (I thought Chicago was big, but I had never seen anything like Times Square). The two immense towers were like indestructible mountains.

My second trip was in 2005 with a group of classmates while attending the FBI National Academy. This time I experienced a massive hole in in the ground at the same place I had been 25 years earlier. I was given a tour of the site, ‘Ground Zero’, by the the NYPD Commander who was on duty the morning of the 2001 attacks. Almost 4 years later his pain and vivid description of that day and the days and weeks that followed is beyond my ability to describe with any justice.

Ten years later, to celebrate 20 years with my bride, I was returning for a third time. The trip began Tuesday morning. As we sat at the gate waiting to board our flight I received a phone call that a police officer in Fox Lake, Illinois, a neighboring town, had been murdered that morning. The situation was fresh and there were few details but by the time we landed on the east coast the crime and then the search for the killers was making national news. I did not know Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, but he had a giant reputation. He had a tremendous impact in his community and an influence as a mentor and trainer that will ripple through a generation of up-and-coming police officers. There will be much more said about Joe as the community prepares to memorialize him on Monday, but you can read a little but about him here (Officer down: Why Fox Lake treasured Lt. Joe Gliniewicz).

This third trip did bring me back to the same spot in Manhattan, this time to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum. A powerful and sobering experience to say the least. In the heart of the museum there is a display that covers an entire wall that bears the quote:

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time. – Virgil

The piece is called “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning.” Spencer Finch designed the installation and painted 2,983 watercolor squares to represent those killed. The guide at the museum said that by adding a drop of water to the original blue for each panel he created a unique shade to represent each unique life that was lost.

Like September 11, 2001 in New York, the sky was blue on September 1st in Fox Lake. Lt. Joe Gliniewiczs’ shade of blue is both unique and shared by his law enforcement brotherhood; past, present and future.

This morning, Dave Thompson (@davejthompson) pastor at The Chapel in Lake Zurich posted this picture captioned: Dockers

After a tough week for Fox Lake, IL, the Lord still shines his light over this area.


An indelible shade of blue.

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  1. Beautifully written, Chief Woodside.

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