Column: Two weeks worth celebrating

It seems like there is a day or a week dedicated to every possible occasion and cause.

Many of them are cringe-worthy, and make you want to roll your eyes when you hear mention of them. Quite often, I wonder “Who had enough time to come up with this,” and “Why do we enable these people who come up with pointless days?”

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A quick search of Google reflects this. For example, May 12 is National Odometer Day, National Nutty Fudge Day, National Porridge Day and National Limerick Day. (I’m guessing they mean limerick the poetry style, and not Limerick, the small community just outside of Assiniboia).

Why does National Odometre Day fall on May 12? And who really cares?

But other days and weeks are worth celebrating, including a couple of weeks currently underway.

May 9-15 is National Police Week. And May 10-16 is National Nurses Week.

I find this to be rather fitting. As has been well-documented in this space, my dad was an RCMP officer for 30 years. And my mom was a nurse for 38 years.

Of course, when I was a kid, I didn’t know about a police week or a nurses week. They weren’t mentioned in school or in the community. But I knew that both professions were vital to the community and the country, not just because it’s what my folks did for a living, but because of the nature of their work.

They were busy people, highly knowledgeable and well trained in their chosen professions, and very dedicated. At a time in which the home and the office were still distinct entities, my parents often brought work home with them, because they knew they had careers and caseloads which required them to work until the job was done, not until the so-called work day was done. 

Both police officers and nurses are in professions subject to a lot of scrutiny, because they’re in professions that have a standard of perfection. They choose jobs in which we only talk about them when they do something remarkably right, or when they do anything wrong.

They don’t get attention when they go to work, do their job properly, work some necessary overtime, call it a day, and then go home to their families.

The vast majority of police officers and nurses are great people who diligently do their jobs and are a credit to their professions.

And they have jobs that carry a tremendous mental toll.

In the past year, we’ve heard slogans like “defund the police” in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Now let me be clear: the officers responsible for Floyd’s death should absolutely be held accountable for their actions, to the fullest extent possible.

But the idea of defunding police systems is absurd. All it would do diminish public safety. Crime would grow. We need police officers. We need dispatchers. We need support staff. We need good men and women out there who are willing to risk their lives on a daily basis.

Governments that heed the call to defund the police will be regretting their decision a few years later.

And, of course, policing becomes a much more difficult profession in the days of social media and cell phone videos, when anyone can record anything, and some will gladly doctor footage to make it fit their agenda.

As for nurses, the support for that profession has likely never been greater, especially in the days of a global pandemic that has killed nearly 3.3 million. If people didn’t understand why nursing is so essential before, they get it now.

And yet there are still people who are criticizing the work that nurses have done, or who wonder why we had to have so many nurses on staff.

You’re still going to get those who need to criticize every time a nurse makes the slightest mistake, or can’t provide the care that a certain patient wants.

Most nurses just go out and do their job properly and to the best of their ability every day, and provide exceptional care.

While there are some truly ridiculous weeks out there, police week and nurses week aren’t among them.

Our communities are stronger because of the police and because of nurses.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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ESTEVAN WEATHER