On October 28, also known as First Responders Day, country music icon George Strait gave a tribute to all first responders in a music video for his single, “The Weight of the Badge.” This song was first released on Strait’s 2019 album, Honky Tonk Time Machine, but it has taken on a whole new meaning in this video.
The music video opens with footage of police officers raising and saluting the American flag in front of the New York State Police Academy. A voiceover begins and then the officer speaking appears in front of the camera, explaining in sincere honesty, what the job of a first responder is like on a daily basis.
“You have people that are going out and doing a job to defend our communities and you know in the back of the mind of every one of those officers – one of them might not be going home,” the officer began. “We have seen, I have seen throughout my career, I have seen it here locally, where a police officer didn’t go home. They kissed their loved ones goodbye and that was the last time they saw them. And sometimes, I don’t think we realize…the impact that this job has had on our families, let alone ourselves. That’s a heavy weight, that’s a heavy weight of the badge.”
Although throughout the video, those on the line of duty are shown with smiling faces, some of them share what actually goes on in their head, as they continue to risk their lives for their communities.
One wife of a first responder expressed her fears of seeing her loved one walk out the door every day, not knowing what the job will entail that day or if she will ever see them come back home through the same door after work.
“Every time he goes, I’m always like ‘call me or text me when you leave’ because I just want to make sure he’s okay,” she shared. “Because I know that it’s a possibility he may not be sometime.” This is the weight that she feels from the badge.
“It doesn’t weigh a lot/Until you put it on/Then the weight of it is staggering/When duty calls each time/He knows, he’s gotta answer/And it’s all in the handling of the weight/Oh, the heavy weight of the badge/And he ain’t gonna buckle under the weight of the badge,” Strait sings.
Footage of real first responders at work and images of their families at home are shown throughout the video. Many of whom were able to attend the First Responders Children’s Foundation 20th anniversary gala in New York City, where the music video made a special premiere.
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The mission of this foundation is to “provide financial support to both children who have lost a parent in the line of duty as well as families enduring significant financial hardships due to tragic circumstances. The Foundation also supports educational activities and programs and operated by first responder agencies whose purpose is to benefit children or the community at large.”
At the end of the video, a first responder reveals that he would like to give a very special gift to Strait, a “small, but heavy” token that comes straight from one of his original uniforms, as a thank you for recording “The Weight of the Badge” and including the important messages.
The recently launched site, TheWeightOfTheBadge.com, invites anyone to share stories and gratitude for the first responders in their lives.