In Memory Of James Shields
There are certain street corners in Buffalo that can make you stop and think. Have you ever noticed the small blue signs attached to random lamp standards that mark dedications to police officers who have died in the line of duty? At the corner of Delaware and Bryant there is on the reads, "This route is dedicated in memory of police officer James Shields - October 30, 2002." James Shields had been in hot pursuit of two bank robbers, along with his partner Officer Kimberly Monteforte, when their car slammed into a tree on Delaware. James Shields, 36-years old and a seven-year veteran, did not survive the crash.
Ever since that horrific day, someone has spent an incredible amount of time making sure that the memory of James Shields lives on. For the last five years I have noticed that the base of the tree has been transformed into a shrine for the fallen officer. I've seen Holiday decorations, and American flags, and ribbons, and keepsakes... one thing is for certain - someone has made sure that James's spirit is always taken care of. For the occasional passer-by that happens to stop at that corner light and look around, you will see how lovely that tree looks. The stone that marks the site (right now) reads, "If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever." Even though most people who drive that route never knew James Shields, the collective debt of gratitude of all those who pass by that tree is very powerful.