After Sunday’s community ceremony honoring Freddie Crawford and Leon Jackson, I left with a sense of remorse that as a community we had not risen to an expectation of excellence by planning and executing a celebration symbolic of the sacrifices they and the 10 deceased members of the Courageous 12 deserved.
I understand that much of the formality in paramilitary organizations’ ceremonies has been reduced as a result of shrinking budgets, but the things that didn’t cost money and that I don’t understand:
• Where was the mayor’s command staff?
• Where were all of the chief’s command staff and not just the black ones?
• Where were the Pinellas County elected officials, other than the mayor and a cameo appearance by Councilman Charlie Gerdes?
• Where was the first African-American Police Chief Goliath Davis?
• Where was the mention of Judge Richard B. Sanderlin?
• Where was the prominent placement and recognition of the 10 deceased courageous 12 members?
• Where was mention of Attorney Frank Peterman Sr.?
• Where were the ministers?
• Where were the members of the SPPD who have tried to embrace the legacy of the Courageous 12 by being more than just police officers, but active members of this community? Two come to mind, Sgt. Al White, retired and Assistant Chief of Police, Cedric Gordon, retired?
• Why weren’t we in a venue that could have seated 1,000 plus people and the air conditioner operable?
• Why wasn’t this celebration on Channel 8 while I was getting ready for work? I woke up to the brawl involving the sisters on Clearwater Beach two consecutive mornings and a total of three times each morning the story was aired, prior to leaving for work?
• Where was the outreach to those of us who were mentored by Mr. Crawford and Mr. Jackson?
• Where were the seats of honor for the honorees’ families?
• Where was the outreach to the Pinellas County School Board coordinating the event as an educational opportunity for Pinellas County students?
• While the ensemble that sang was awesome, why wasn’t the National Anthem or the Negro National Anthem prominently placed in the ceremony or was I late because I happened to read about the ceremony on the day of the event?
• Where were the color guards, which are always present when honoring dignitaries affiliated with the military and paramilitary organizations?
The beginning of us having expectations of excellence from our children begins with us being diligent in our pursuits of demanding excellence for ourselves. The Courageous 12 deserved nothing but the best we could have offered and we simply fell short of that excellence as a community!
~ Maria Scruggs