The weight of the badge doesn't just affect those who wear it. George Strait shines a light on our first responders and their families and what it means to live every day bearing "The Weight of the Badge."

“The men and women in this music video are our friends and neighbors who carry the weight of the badge each day,” says Strait in the video. “Thank you. We appreciate you and the sacrifices you and your families make.”

BCI Captain Robert Appleton from the New York State Police carries the weight every day and is one of the first responders who was featured in Strait's new video. "It was a surreal experience to join other first responders from across the country to share our story."

Appleton's wife, who is usually a private person, agreed to share what life is like being married to the badge. "When he leaves and I give him a hug and a kiss goodbye I always hold on to him for an extra couple of seconds, just because," she said as she choked back tears.

Despite being married for 21 years, Appleton said he learned something new after filming. "I never understood why it took a little longer to leave in the morning. When she said it that way and I saw that perspective, it hit home a little more. I can't even tell you how many times I've watched it and I still get choked up every time I hear her say it."

Credit - George Strait via YouTube
Credit - George Strait via YouTube

Appleton's wife wasn't the only one who shared the weight of the badge. His father, Charles Appleton Jr., who is a retired major from the Massachusetts State Police, also appeared in the video. "In the first verse, there's a line about doing work like your dad, and I thought wouldn't it be cool to share this with my dad."

Credit - George Strait via YouTube
Credit - George Strait via YouTube

Appleton Jr. brought some things to feature in the video and even gave one of his collar ornaments from his original uniform to Strait as a way to say thank you for shining a light on life as a first responder. "We had to shoot the end twice because he got so choked up. He got to celebrate his life's work and it was a pretty special thing. It was a father-son moment that doesn't get much better. It was really special."

The message the video shows is a special one too. "It's a message of healing," said Appleton. "It's about community, showing how we're all part of the community. And it shines brightly in this video. They did a beautiful job bringing it all together."

There may be more messages to share too. Appleton says they filmed a lot more than what is shown in Strait's video. "There were hours of filming. A lot about the effects of 9/11. There's talk of piecing together a documentary that will be out in a month or two. I'm anxiously nervous."

Appleton couldn't be more thankful to be given the opportunity to share his story. "I hope everyone understands the amount of appreciation we all have for the light George Strait shined on the weight of the badge, for those who wear it and the families who live it."

Know a first responder? Share their story and your gratitude at

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