There’s one thing we think we can all agree on—country music is a narrative for life. Whether it’s an uptempo party tune or a heartbreak ballad, country songs become the soundtrack for people’s lives. And sometimes, they provide healing.
Phoenix police officer Thomas Johnson fully knows the impact a song can have on a tragic situation. He shared his story with country star Brantley Gilbert who, in turn, shared a photo and note from Thomas with fans on his Instagram page.
The picture is a stunning image of Thomas’ forearm, tattooed with the title of the country star’s 2014 hit, “One Hell of an Amen.” But the note from Thomas to Brantley will break your heart. In it, Thomas reveals that, in a matter of weeks, he lost a dear friend and a favorite uncle. The friend, Officer David Glasser, was a fellow policeman killed in the line of duty, and Thomas’ Uncle Dave was a veteran who died from cancer, which stemmed from his service in Vietnam.
“Officer Glasser was a man of faith and believed he was here for a purpose,” Thomas writes. “He leaves behind a wife, 8-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. My uncle fought to the end, never giving up. He leaves behind my aunt and two adult daughters.”
He continues, “Hearing that song will bring an immediate smile to my face with a tear in my eye. Even writing this makes my eyes water. It is the last song I listen to on my last workout of every week just as a reminder of them both and what they mean to me. It’s a reminder to myself to honor them and [their] memory [any way] I can and with the life I live.”
In addition to the title of the song, the tattoo bears both of the heroes’ initials along with a thin blue line honoring law enforcers and a thin green line to respect his uncle’s military service.
"I've been wanting to do this for some time now. I've been to a couple shows here in Arizona but the last one I went to last year hit me hard. Last year I lost two of the most influential people in my life. One being Officer David Glasser, who was a good friend, family and squad mate of mine here at Phoenix PD. He was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. Three weeks after that I lost my Uncle Dave who was a father to me growing up. He lost his battle with cancer stemming directly from his tours in Vietnam. I have always loved the song "One Hell of an Amen" but at last years concert here in Phoenix it took on a new meaning to me. It was a few months after both deaths. It describes both these men and how they died to a T! It also describes how I feel knowing I will see them both again. Officer Glasser was killed fighting the evil of our society and my Uncle Dave was taken by cancer. Both died serving there country. Officer Glasser was a man of faith and believed he was here for a purpose. He leaves behind a wife, 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. My uncle fought to the end, never giving up. He leaves behind my Aunt and two adult daughters. Hearing that song will bring an immediate smile to my face with a tear in my eye. Even writing this makes my eyes water. It is the last song I listen to on my last workout of every week just as a reminder of them both and what they mean to me. It's a reminder to myself to honor them and there memory anyway I can and with the life I live. Here is a tattoo I got before we left for Washington DC to honor and put Officer Glasser's name on the National Police Officers Memorial Wall. The blue line (representing the thin blue line) starts with Officer Glasser's initials and the green line (representing the Army) ends with my Uncles initials." – Thomas Johnson, Phoenix PD #theonesthatlikeme #bgnation
“One Hell of an Amen,” is based on a true story, and was co-written by Brantley with Mike Dekle and Brian Davis.