August and the Heart of Summer

Police Chief  Gerard Scherlinck

It’s August, and we find ourselves with summer quickly passing by.  At the beginning of the season, we paused to give tribute to all who have fallen protecting our nation in conjunction with National Memorial Day and Police Memorial Day ceremonies.  We noted the fact that close in conjunction to those dates that are set aside to memorialize sacrifice for the greater good, we commemorated our mothers and fathers for their sacrifices and dedication, as well.

As summer forged ahead, we leapt into the 4th of July Holiday, and paused to note the beginning of one of the most incredible journeys of government founded in freedom ever established.  We would be remiss should we ever fail to acknowledge the unique relationship between citizens and government that was established beginning with our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  The sacrifices that have been made to preserve this freedom are forever etched in our history, form us as a unique people, and must never be forgotten.

Summer is marked with travel, celebrations, picnics, family reunions, parades, fairs and festivals of every kind all around the nation.  We hosted an excellent fair in Milan during June to kick off the season.  The parade that marked the beginning of the fair attracted many participants and was well attended.   The sky over Ford Lake was filled with extravagant colors, shapes, and sounds during the fireworks display that accompanied that community event. Despite some challenging weather, people came out, participated, and had a great time.  In August, we will host the Milan Summer Fest; another great event where citizens and visitors can partake in and enjoy a variety of family friendly activities right here in our community.

With summer, something unique seems to happen as we find ourselves gathering as families, friends, and communities.  The rhythm of the traditions and rituals that underlie these comings together seems to form us somehow not only individually, but corporately, in terms of a unique human experience.  We gather and reminisce about the great times of the past, seek to build new and positive experiences in the present, and look forward to creating an even better future.

Although the rituals of summer can be great, celebrations and gatherings, especially those that bring large numbers of people together in one place at one time can be challenging in terms of traffic, congestion, and impatience.  The use and abuse of alcohol or other controlled substances, the lack of rest, or inattention to safety can unfortunately mar times intended for celebration with tragedy.   Summer is one of the biggest travel times of the year, especially in terms of travel by car.   In our hurriedness to get where we are going, meet schedules, and traverse distances, aggressive driving, driving without seatbelts, and distracted driving can become real threats to the safety of our families and friends.  Tense relationships, whether with people close to us, or maybe just people we don’t like, combined with stress, fatigue, hot weather, impatience, or intoxication can result in conflict and destructive behavior.

As we push into the heart of summer, maybe we can challenge ourselves to stay vigilant and avoid those practices or behaviors that can lead to negative outcomes; perhaps we can challenge ourselves to focus on patience, safety, sobriety, and maybe even a good dose of humility and empathy as we interact with one another.

On behalf of the men and women of the Milan Police Department, we wish everyone all the best as we celebrate, gather, and enjoy the rest of the Summer of 2013.

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