Community Comes Together

A look into what “Backing the Blue” means


Photographer-Faith Myers

Pictured- State Trooper, Adam Lawson

Taylor Durham, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Blue Ribbons tied around mailboxes, car antennas, light posts, and even strips of masking tape forming a blue line across a rear window flood the visions of those running around town with their family and friends.  Some citizens never notice those blue strips of cloth, while others, aware of them, never question their presence. To many people, those ribbons are a symbol of family, community, sacrifice, and lives lost.

“Backing the Blue”, a familiar term to many, became part of the everyday scene around town since the Dallas shooting left five officers dead and several other wounded this summer. Only a few days after that tragedy, while flags were still flying at half-mast for the lives of those officers taken, the nation received word of another shooting that left officers deceased in Baton Rouge.

The sudden phenomenon of  “Backing the Blue” spread like wild fire across the country, but not without resistance from those who referred to themselves as “anti-police”.

Among the law enforcement family stands husband and wife, Adam and Kelsey Lawson. Adam, who has been a trooper now for 4 years, and his wife Kelsey, a dispatcher for the past 5 years, serves their community of Wise County. They know first hand how strong of an impact the blue line has.

“After the Dallas Shooting the outpour of love and support has been so amazing. It really showed all of us how ready the community is to stand behind us,” Adam said.

The color blue represents loyalty, stability, and truth, all attributes that can be associated with law enforcement. Behind the controversy surrounding police brutally, men and women stand together watching over the people they vowed to protect, even if they receive ridicule and retaliation in return.

Four years ago, Lawson followed in his father’s footsteps when he became a State Trooper.

Then only three years later, Lawson found himself in a place some officers never find themselves.  He was standing in front of a gun, and his life, in that moment, was on the line.

“In that instance we were this defining group standing between this man, with a gun, and the world. We were that blue line, protecting,” Adam said.

This event showed Adam the importance of his career. He now refers to that instance as his defining moment.

These men and women stand beside each member of the community, and for them when the need arises. Officers come face to face with many obstacles in this line of work. Human beings with hearts that beat just the same as everyone else’s are the individuals who wear the uniform. At home they have husbands, wives and families who stand united with blue blood coursing through their veins.

People often find it difficult to see or hear about incidents involving police officers and instantly believe accusations of that one social media post from someone who never thought to step foot in a pair of law enforcement shoes.

With stories like this all over the news, radio, and various social media sites, it’s hard for some to remember they are human too.

“Back the blue really shows what that blue line means and it incorporates and invites them to become a support system,” Kelsey said.

Wise County citizens who back the blue have shown their true appreciation to every man and woman who serve and protect them through bringing them anything from bottled water to baked goods. The endless displays of support have strengthened the community as a whole.

Even with all that support, the men and women in blue take hits, like they did this summer, but day-by-day law enforcement officers keep moving forward and protecting the people they swore they would.

“We (law enforcement) really are all a family, a strong family, even all of the wives of officers share such a strong community. It’s just so amazing when you meet someone and they find out that you’re a trooper’s wife and they look at you and share with you that their grandson or brother is a trooper as well; and then you just share an instant connection. It’s a comradery,” Kelsey said.

Backing the blue means and symbolizes a growing number of things to different people. People have to figure out what it means to them individually, but for many this is the solid blue line, and this is where the community stands for it.