New Federal Way police officers have 'servant's hearts'

The words just popped into my head: “ A servant’s heart. These men have servants’ hearts.”

It kind of made me weepy, like a proud mother at the Oscars or at a wedding. Except, I was sitting in council chambers at the Federal Way City Council meeting. It was the usual monthly meeting. Nobody seemed especially excited beforehand, just the usual suburban folks listening in on what “the suits” had to say.

I went there with my husband, Col. Eric Vogt, to witness one of his Air National Guard troops take his oath of duty as a new Federal Way police officer. We sat in the back as observers. We proudly watched our troop, as if he was a member of our own family. There he stood, with three other young proud men in the uniform of Federal Way’s finest, taking their oaths, in front of God and the representative body of the citizens of Federal Way, the city council.

This is what caught my attention. As the deputy chief of police introduced the officers, I listened closely to their short biographical introductions. The first recruit is a licensed pilot for the Civil Air Patrol, the second an Army veteran who served in Iraq, the third a Washington Air National Guardsman currently serving, and the fourth was also an Army veteran with service in Iraq. It seemed that the contrast couldn’t be any more dramatic.

The news media was in a frenzy over the South Dakota and Montana primaries and the drama playing out over whether Hillary Clinton would finally concede the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. On the national scene, we’ve witnessed for five months the spectacle of overpaid professional politicians in a national bloodletting competition of self-promotion, self-aggrandizement and self-idolatry. Yet here in a scruffy city (no offense, but we are kind of scruffy), a galaxy apart from the elites competing for the most powerful and honorable position in the world, are four men stepping forward to serve the citizens of their city after already serving the citizens of their country.

That’s when it struck me. They have a servant’s heart. Their sense of purpose and mission is fulfilled when they are serving a great cause, a great ideal. Or maybe they’re just inspired by the idea of seeing to the public order, as in “thank you ma’am,” “move along, folks, nothin’ to see here... !” Whatever it is, we can surely call it selfless.

And it is most fitting that they are inducted with an oath. I wonder how many people know what an oath is and what it means. It is an ancient Hebrew concept traced back to the sacred oaths between God and Abraham. We finish our oaths in a court of law with the words “so help me God” for a reason.

An oath is literally an appeal to God’s witness. It is at the same time an appeal for strength (as in “God, I could never keep this oath without your help”) and an appeal for final judgment (as in “God may judge my heart should I ever break this oath”).

On Nov. 5, we will awake to a new national leader who will be celebrated, ad nauseum, for his hard-fought battle to the White House. The post electoral “red/blue” map analysis will be blazing from every pundit, what went wrong, what went right, what the future holds, blah, blah, blah. Then will come inauguration day, when we witness a new president swearing his oath of office.

The question will be, “Does he have a servant’s heart?”

Federal Way resident Angie Vogt: vogt.e@comcast.net. For past columns and further commentary, visit www.soundupdate.com.

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