"The sun rises, the sun sets. Each day is a new beginning, one to be cherished because one never knows when it might be his or her last time to enjoy what life has to offer."

John Smith listened to the speaker, his expression one of sorrow. It was a somber atmosphere. Most of those who'd gathered were dressed in black, a sign of mourning. Officers from the 27th wore their uniforms, each standing straight and crisp. Their faces betrayed no emotions.

On this day, they were laying to rest one of their own, an officer who placed the safety of others above his. It was the greatest sacrifice anyone could ever make, to place himself in the line of fire to protect the life of someone else, and, to him, it was a sacrifice that deserved honor and respect. He didn't care if it was a civilian, an officer of the law, or someone in the military. Those who fought the good fight, to ensure that law-abiding citizens could sleep in peace at night, were always worthy.

The world was going to hell. That much John knew, and sometimes it felt as if the efforts of he and those who served under his command weren't enough. There were so many who died who didn't deserve to have their lives cut so painfully short, and it always seemed as if those numbers continued to grow. Why did they continue? He wanted to ask that question out loud. The officer in the casket certainly didn't deserve to have his life cut short. Why did they continue?

In his wonderings, his gaze traveled from the civilians gathered to mourn the loss of a son, a brother, a nephew, a friend, an uncle, a father, a husband, to those of the officers. While their faces remained stoic, their eyes told John a different story. They knew. It could be any one of them in that casket, but there were no hints of questions. In his mind, they weren't questioning why they bothered to continue to fight the good fight. They had their reasons for walking the streets, for hunting down the ones who would disrupt the peace, and cause only anarchy and chaos. They stood among the ones they wanted to protect. When it was over, they would return to their homes where their loved ones awaited them, more of those they wished to keep out of harm's way.

Two officers in particular captured John's attention. It was in the way they stood a little closer to each other than anyone else. It was in the way that their hands nearly touched, though they stood straight and their eyes on the casket of the departed. The small things. That's all they were: small things. Yet they were still significant. To know there was someone waiting at the end of the day to hold and to love . . . the little things sometimes chased away the enormity of the bad. John felt a faint smile touch on his lips, and he nodded. He knew why he continued to bother, why all of the officers in his city and in other cities around the world continued to bother. There was something for each of them to protect.

And that was all that mattered to keep them going above and beyond the call of duty, no matter where it took them.


Author's Note: Yes. Death. Finally. But who is it?