I grew up in a small town. No, this isn’t a John Mellencamp song, this is my life. Born and raised in a small town. The kind of town where American Flags adorn the street lights, where the ladies in the post office know you by name, and the local coffee shop has your favorite scone waiting in a box for you, with your name on it, because she knows they’re your favorite. Yah, that’s the kind of town in which I live.
And as cliche as this sounds, there is something to be said for a small town community coming together during times of tragedy – like the kind of tragedy we just faced over the past three weeks. We lost a well-respected police officer. We lost an elderly woman, an innocent victim, who happened to be sitting enjoying a cup of coffee in her sun-room on a quiet Sunday morning.
The news spread like wildfire. Television crews came, camped out and covered the story minute by minute. It became National news. It became the topic of social media posts across the United States, debates on gun control, a lenient judicial system, and endless speculation on the suspect.
But to those of us in this town, it wasn’t just another news story. It hit home for us because it happened here. In our town. In our home. We didn’t just lose another cop to a senseless tragedy, we lost a hero. We lost a husband and father. We lost so much more than “another cop.”
We didn’t just lose an innocent victim, enjoying coffee in her sun-room. We lost a vibrant & engaging neighbor. A woman who loved to read, who loved fashion, who had a larger-than-life personality…our neighbor. Ours.
Within 24 hours, while driving down the street, I saw men, women and children placing blue & black ribbons on all the telephone polls. Not just on a few of them. But all of them. I saw lemonade stands popping up all over town.
A tribute was put together where thousands came to show their love and support for the victim’s families. Our Mayor addressed the masses. Our Police Chief, cried openly while remembering his fallen hero. Reverends, Pastors and Priests offered prayers. Candles and flags were held high, while tears ran down the faces of all who attended.
And all I could think, as I looked around at this beautiful yet heartbreaking tribute was, “This is my community. This is my town.”
I am proud to call Weymouth my hometown. I am honored to know this community. These residents are hard working; they are business owners, they are parents, teachers — they struggle. They persevere.
This is my town.
Rest in God’s peace Sgt. Michael Chesna & Mrs. Vera Adams. You will never be forgotten. You belong to us – to our community. To our town. Now and forever.
*Click this link to hear a tribute song, “If I had known” that I sung for them.