Children of fallen officer remember
by wire reports
October 01, 2012 01:03 AM | 410 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATHENS — Callie and Wyatt Christian have celebrated birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays for the first time without their father, Athens-Clarke Senior Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian III.

Christian was murdered in the line of duty a year and a half ago.

Young as they are, they understand how their family’s hopes and dreams were turned upside down by a single violent act on March 22, 2011.

Yet Callie and Wyatt — ages 6 and 3, respectively — are experiencing childhoods while learning more about their father all the time.

“They love school and are doing really well considering what they have been through,” said their mother, Melissa Christian.

“They miss their Daddy very much and are so proud of him,” she said. “I know they will have more questions as they get older, but for now they are content in knowing that Daddy loves them and he is fine in heaven and watching over us.

“I pray that they are able to keep their memories in the heart and hold on to them forever.”

The Christian children have been exposed to so many reminders since the day Buddy Christian was shot and killed by a suspect in a kidnapping and armed robbery. The officer was 34 years old.

For the funeral, thousands of fellow officers and citizens converged on Athens to pay respects to the first local officer to be slain in the line of duty in 75 years.

Along with their mother, Callie and Wyatt attended countless fundraisers and other memorial events, like when they went to Washington, D.C., in May to see the addition of their father’s name to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

For the solemn pomp and pageantry of the event held during National Police Week, Callie and Wyatt wore miniature versions of the Athens-Clarke police uniform their father proudly wore. They listened as President Obama honored their father and the other 172 officers who died in the line of duty in 2011.

An office in the Christian home is devoted to the memory of their father, displaying Buddy’s uniform, awards and photographs.

“The kids love going in there and looking around at everything Daddy has done,” Melissa Christian said.

Callie and Wyatt have picture books of them with their father that they often look at and show to other people, and they release balloons outside so that Buddy Christian will “catch” them as they float to heaven.

Each night as Callie prepares for bed, she speaks with her father through prayer.

“She often she will ask me, ‘What do you think Daddy is doing up there”‘ in Heaven?” Melissa Christian said.

The girl’s fondest memories of her father include the time they spent making paper airplanes, blowing bubbles, playing in the park, and riding together on a tractor.

“Callie is such a sweet girl and on days when I am having a hard time with things, she comforts me just like how I comfort her,” Melissa Christian said. “She will say, ‘It’s OK Mommy, Daddy is in your heart and he loves you very much.”‘

Wyatt, now 3, was just a toddler when his father was killed and has trouble understanding what happened.

“He still thinks that Daddy will be home any day and he looks for him,” Melissa Christian said. “He still has very vivid memories of his Daddy, which is quite remarkable because he was only 2.”

Like his sister, Wyatt has favorite memories of time spent with Buddy Christian.

“He remembers playing golf in the yard and Putt-Putt in the mountains,” Wyatt’s mother said. “He remembers Buddy pushing him on the swing way up high and riding on the tractor.”

Wyatt calls American flags “Daddy flags” because they are very prevalent whenever an event is held in Buddy Christian’s memory.

Melissa Christian remains heartbroken over her husband’s death, especially knowing the time her children will never spend with him.

“Callie graduated kindergarten without her Daddy present, and who will walk her down the aisle one day?” she asked. “Who will teach Wyatt how to work on cars and hunt and fish?”

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides