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Tribute To A Warrior
by Bill Westfall
On Behalf of the Moore Family
To Commemorate and Celebrate the Life of Their Son
Officer David Moore (EOW 01-26-11)
February 1, 2011
Jo Moore has asked that I speak on behalf of her and her family this morning…………and I am both privileged and humbled to do so
The words of Henry Van Dyke…………
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads his white sails to the
morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. He is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch him…… until at length he hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says: “There…………..he is gone!”
“Gone Where?” you ask.
Gone from my sight, I say! But that is all. He is just as large in mast and hull and spar as he was when he left my side and he is just as able to bear the load of living freight to his destined port. You see, his diminished size is in me, in my sight, and in you, and in your site but not in him. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, he is gone!” There are other eyes watching him coming, (other arms who reach out to him) and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here he comes!”
Henry Van Dyke
And for those of us who believe in a living, loving and forgiving God, we are assured that David now resides in His embrace and in the embrace of those friends and family and brother officers and sister officers who left this same port before him, Jason Baker, and Timothy Laird most recently …….and others so many years ago.
I never met David Moore…………………but I know David Moore for in his face I see the same idealism and altruism and intent to do well that I see in the faces of peacekeepers as I travel this nation working with David's fellow officers. He is and they are simply the best that we can do. I have often argued that possibly the best kept secret in this nation may be the depth and quality of those who stand between peaceful members of our society and evil. In the more than 40 years I have been in and around the policing profession, I have rarely seen an officer set out to intentionally do wrong. And having been in the classroom with the officers from this agency for nearly 20 years I want to assure this public that there are hundreds and hundreds of David Moore's in the IMPD.
Jo Moore asked that I address three areas on behalf of her and her family:
- Remove the sting of the word warrior as applied to that of the peacekeeper
- David's legacy
- The wounded warrior
WARRIOR – A PROPER DEFINITON
David Moore was a warrior……………a word that while often used to describe today's peacekeeper makes those outside the culture shrink back; for in this time of political correctness many relate the word to “war monger.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Warriors do not pursue war for they pay the heftiest of price in sacrifice, but they also are grounded in the reality of this world and as Plato cautioned “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” So the warrior disciplines himself to be so well prepared that when he confronts evil; he causes evil to shrink back.
And perhaps that confusion is not simply the un-informed critics fault, for those of us who use the word more freely have failed, at times, to convey its full meaning. Harry Reeder says the definition should be that of “the strength and courage to do one's duty…….coupled with compassion and sensitivity in all our relationships;” the very essence of the “gentleman.” That is the proper definition of a warrior. This warrior is the epitome of Sandburg's Lincoln when he stated “not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, hard as a rock but soft as a drifting morning fog………… who was often seen to weep, but who made weeping, appropriate, decent, even majestic. Joshua Chamberlain the renowned Civil War hero of more than 20 major battles; who suffered six separate wounds was once described as having the “soul of a lion but the heart of a woman” for his compassion shown his Southern brother at the Appomattox surrender. These phrases describe men of great strength but who also knew compassion. David confronted evil on more than one occasion in his shortened life, but he and officer Chappel could also cajole the forlorn and suicidal from a tree before that soul plunged himself into the icy waters of the White River and then transported him for medical attention. So officer Chappel and David are warriors but they are also men of compassion and peace……….steel and velvet.
Colonel Dave Grossman former Army ranger, psychologist and noted author recounted the wise counsel of a grizzled old INFANTRY sergeant explaining a warrior this way. There are three kinds of people in this world, sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting one another except by accident or extreme provocation they are sheep; and he means nothing derogatory by calling them sheep and if the world were inhabited by nothing but sheep then there would be no need for the sheepdog. But then there are wolves and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy on both the young and the elderly and those that cannot fend or protect themselves.
Then, there are sheepdogs. “I'm a sheepdog said the old veteran; as is every peacekeeper in this country. They live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. David lived to protect the flock. Understand there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog, it is simply what they have been born………… and called to do. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter, he or she is always sniffing around on the perimeter, checking the breeze and barking at things that go bump in the night. And sometimes the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. So, he is at times…………….. an irritant to the sheep.
And then there are the wolves. If you want to be a wolf you can be, but understand this, the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down. If you are evil, David and men and women like David will pursue you to protect the flock and you will never have rest, you will never know peace, and you will never know trust or love.
So our warrior is the sheepdog…….. that has “the strength and courage to do one's duty but compassion and sensitivity in all our relationships”……… the essence of the “gentle man.”
It was important to Jo that we address David's legacy. As one author suggests, “You could close your eyes and pray that David will come back or………… you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.” I believe David would prefer the latter.
You need only look around this gathering and see all that he has left. He leaves loving parents who were entrusted by their God to bring this remarkable young man into this world, and then he, as instructed, honored his father and mother who then nurtured and counseled him through adulthood.
David leaves a loving big sister, Carol and a nephew Sammy and a niece Cora who even at this young age are in awe of their uncle's devotion and strength. One sees that revealed in their eyes and there is an assurance there of a family legacy that shall extend, yet, for generations.
And then David has left in each of you, fellow officers, friends and community members……….. bequeathed memories that are yours eternally. But I believe and his parents believe that he has also bequeathed opportunity.
The IMPD evolved from a merger of the Indianapolis Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Department in January of 2007, but seemed in well intended political expedience to ignore the histories of both agencies….histories that date to the 19 th century and while those histories were imperfect, they were also rich with service and sacrifice that give the IMPD character today. That merger also allowed to begin anew. Maybe it is time that we begin to formerly pay homage to that rich history while stimulating a new vision.
David Moore is the first officer to be taken in the line of duty, while wearing the IMPD uniform. In this past year we have heard cries of a need for a new vision for the department. Could we not find that vision in the image of David Moore and those in these past agencies? The enemy here is not the politician, not an administration, not this agency's officers nor this community, the enemy is evil. And evil lurks, smiling glibly, liking nothing better than division among those whose mandate it is…… to do good. The vested parties here, must find a pathway back to a common ground and a common vision. Spencer Moore said to me over and over, “David wanted to do the right thing and for the right reason,” and personally I sense David's reasons for doing anything were never couched in ego, greed, ambition or power. Let me, reiterate not in ego, not in greed, not in personal ambition and not in power. And like Jim Collins' Level Five Leader, everything David did was couched in humility.
In our teachings we speak to what we call The Leadership Test. It asks, are we doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way and for the right reason? Call it what you may but maybe this new vision should always be couched in the image that David and so many of his fellow officers so vividly portray for so many of them……… do the right thing at the right time in the right way and for the right reason.
So in times of travail and temptation when we may be too quick with a word or a glance as citizen, administrator, politician and as officer; too quick with a personal, administrative, political or enforcement decision, maybe we should pause and find strength in David and the idealism of those past and those in the future…………….. idealism that emits patience, grace, ready good humor and reconsideration and meet their standard. Is there a person that has not looked into David's face and seen what we should be and want to become? He is the icon for the ideal officer nation wide. He is the young man that you pray will be your son, your neighbor, your teammate, your coworker or if you have daughters the young man you hope your daughter will someday marry.
And now if I may speak of David's legacy to his fellow officers. In Steven Pressfield's Virtures of War he depicts Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia. In what was a brilliant tactical maneuver Alexander defeats an army that outnumbers him five to one on his enemy's ground. Predicting a rout he told his men not to pursue and destroy the Persians when they panicked….. but his men, caught up in the bloodlust of the moment pursued and slaughtered and rioted. It took Alexander hours to reform his army. Once he had them under control he drilled them to exhaustion and then lambasted them for disgracing “the greatest victory in the history of western arms.” Thoroughly chastised he dismissed his army and refused repeated attempts by his generals, who pleaded for their king's forgiveness. Finally, listening to an appeal from Hephaestion his general and childhood friend he steps outside his tent. Before him is his army formed into a giant “U” and in the center is all the loot they have taken, golden cups, robes of purple, suites of furniture, and Crateus one of his generals appeals to him, “This is everything Alexander, take it all but please…… do not hide your face from us.” Alexander turns to Hephaestion and says, “Is this what you brought me here for?” and starts back to his tent when his friend takes his arm and says, “Can't you see how much they love and respect you Alexander?” Now, for the first time Alexander looks into their faces and sees private soldiers, grizzled sergeants and senior officers, never has he held faces of such abjection, men are weeping. Finally he is approached by Socrates Red Beard, a behemoth of a warrior. His brow and his limbs bathed in blood and bandages and described as the one who had conducted himself with the loftiest of integrity. He had not rioted, he had not pillaged, he had not burned. Socrates speaks, “Have we not been true to you Alexander; how many of us have bled for you, died for you……….and then he shouts to his king, “What more do you want of us?” he pleas in agony. Alexander embraces this beloved ………………..warrior brother and says to him, “I want you to be magnificent!”
I know this. David wants you to be magnificent! This community wants you to be magnificent! This administration wants you to be magnificent! David wants you to know what that feels like before you end this journey on what is the heroic path.
And now you must pose a question. Do you want that for yourselves as intensely as David and those that have gone before him, would want that for you? Can you find in yourselves the discipline to not transgress this vision; not giving fodder to accusations of impropriety? It would be my hope that you do.
THE WOUNDED WARRIOR
Jo Moore was emphatic that we realize that warriors who often are lost in the line of duty are paid tribute while those who are wounded……… and who may have survived are often ignored or forgotten….. in our moment of grief; our thoughts being with those who leave this earth………….. forgetting that those left behind are still burdened with their earthly wounds; their earthly responsibilities which can now include the loss of a loved one or friend.
These incidents are at times far more difficult for the living then those who reside in the embrace of a loving God. That means each of us here carries some of those wounds and will…. to our own graves. So, part of the Moore family message to you is that while you pay tribute to their son remember to extend the same grace and praise to each other…………..and not just in catastrophic events but paying tribute to the one who without fanfare or fuss, prevents evil, but in so doing carries evil in their mind's eye ….and has no refuge or release from that burden unless in the compassion and understanding of their communities, their families and their fellow officers.
Of all those who have lost in David's passing none have lost more than his parents, Spencer and Jo and his sister Carol. To Jo and Spencer, n o parent is bequeathed with a gene to deal with the loss of a child in their lifetime. So to the Moore family, I would remind you of this; that in David's absence as you sit on your porch at night overlooking your flowering garden steeped in the love and sweet memories of family, I assure you that his spirit will float around you and you will feel upon your cheek, cool but loving wisps of air that refresh a humid summer evening and know that they are his attempts to reassure you that you will remain forever, as father, mother, and sister the object of a grateful son's and grateful brother's eternal love.
To David's community, I wish to also make this clear………….you will never and let me emphasize this…..NEVER…………..find a family more prepared for this day than Jo and Spencer Moore and their daughter Carol. This community owes them a debt of gratitude for their response. From the moment this notification tore through their hearts, theirs was not a message of retribution or vengeance but a message of celebration of the life and dedication of their son and they set a tone of response so this community can begin the healing process.
In doing so, they have paid this community the greatest of tributes. You see when we lose a warrior…… be it on a battlefield or a city street and the message that the grieving family emits is one of immense loss, stating that “We grieve them and miss them in ways that cannot be measured in words, but we are so very proud of them and their sacrifice.” then understand that those parents have given you the greatest compliment as a community. They are saying that their child's cause was worthy and that YOU were worthy. And because of your outpouring of compassion and concern for them, they deem you worthy……. for you allow them to grieve, steeped in honor and dignity not in remorse and regret.
And for family and friends who at this time query, Why? And especially in the manner in which David passed; we will simply say………….the strength, courage, hope idealism and altruism we see in David's eyes humbles us and causes us to pause as it should………………and to think and to recommit. For as difficult as this heroic path is, we have all been humbled and it should be our hope that we have all learned.
In closing let me share with you Steve McDonald's, Live On My Warrior Son and as we listen together, we would ask you to take a moment and reflect on your own memories of David and what David's life and the manner in which he spent his last moments, placing himself between you and evil….. represents…………… and I would ask that you reflect on your own loved ones and this community who grieves him as well.
If there is one thing we should be reminded of today, it is of how fragile life is and for all our loved one's foibles and life's imperfections, they are still loved and this life……………. because of such a warrior's sacrifice….. is still a remarkably good life.
And lastly to David……………….”Well done….. my good and faithful servant.” May God continue to bless you…………..and may He now hold you in His hand.
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