Of all of the horrific things that happened during the riot at the Capitol last week, the sight of a helpless officer, pinned by a mob against a doorway, may have been one of the hardest to unsee.
It’s a sight of suffering that traveled 1,953 miles from Washington, D.C. to Billings, Montana, where 10-year-old Emma Jablonski saw it all unfold on television.
"We’re thinking what could we do to let Emma express her feelings and let the officer know that she cared and that she didn’t like what she was seeing? So, I was like, ‘How does a letter sound?’ and she was like, ‘Perfect,’” Johnna Jablonski, Emma’s mom, said.
The letter was penciled by Emma herself, complete with some art work, and posted on Twitter by her mom. It reads:
“Dear Officer, I’m Emma, and I’m 10 years old. I hope you heal from being crushed. I feel bad for you. Those people are really bad hurting you. I hope you and your family are nice and healthy. When I saw the video on CNN about people crushing you with a door I almost cried. Get well. - Emma”
At the time of the video, the officer was only identified by the number on his riot helmet and badge – 4518. On a Zoom call Tuesday, Emma got to meet Officer Daniel Hodges.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much,” Hodges said. “I’m … kinda banged up but I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
The two exchanged words, with Hodges explaining that he has a “headache that won’t quit,” but is “doing alright all things considered.”
Emma said she never thought the voice of a little girl from Montana would be heard all the way in the city of Washington, D.C., but it went even further, into the hearts of first responders.
Editor's Note (Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:24 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misidentified the department where Officer Hodges works. He is a D.C. police officer.