“The King of Country”, George Strait, released a tribute on Thursday to police officers called “The Weight of the Badge” from his upcoming album, Honky Tonk Time Machine.
To say the song is emotional doesn’t do it justice because I’ve now listened to it at least 10 times and haven’t been able to get through it once without ugly-crying.
Straight, who wrote the song with his son Bubba and longtime collaborator Dean Dillon, details the work of one man on the force who follows in the footsteps of his own father, but it sends a message of bitter truth and respect to anyone who understands the realities of the job.
It’s gonna be long one another graveyard shift
As he says goodbye to his wife and kids
He spends his life just like his dad’s
Driving away under the weight of the badge
The song is completely and carefully free of any divisive messaging that we are so used to seeing and hearing in the media today with anything involving law enforcement… It’s just a story about one hardworking man who takes his position of authority very seriously; who understands the risks that come with it every single day, yet who is steady under the enormous pressure and weight on his shoulders.
He’s seen it all in his 15 years
Watching our backs, facing our fears
Lord knows it ain’t no easy task
Keepin’ us safe under the weight of the badge
But the part that really rips your heart open is when he talks about a time he was seriously injured while on duty and waking up to his wife and children by his bedside…
Not that long ago he woke up in the hospital
With his wife and kids praying by his bed
He said, “I’m gonna be alright, there’s just sometimes you gotta fight”
And the truth is nothing truer could be said
I do it for us and I do it for them
And I ain’t gonna buckle under the weight of the badge
The strongest among us make a conscious choice to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us. And let’s be honest: these days, it’s a pretty thankless job.
It’s so much more than just a lack of respect for authority, it’s a complete lack of humanity towards law enforcement.
Meanwhile, many of these men and women in blue experience real pain and real trauma as a result of their promise “to protect and serve” the very people who disrespect and harm them.
And yet, they wake up and go to work every day.
It doesn’t get anymore selfless than that.
And that’s what it means when Strait expresses, “I ain’t gonna buckle under the weight of the badge.”
Just know if you are an officer and you are reading this, that so many more of us stand with you than against you, and while hatred is always louder, love is so much stronger.
You might need some tissues handy for this one… Here’s the song, “The Weight of the Badge”: