"I was born to a woman I never knew and raised by another who took in orphans," says author James Michener. "I do not know my background, my lineage, my biological heritage. But when I meet someone new, I treat them with respect. For after all, they could be my people."

Beyond even family, Michener's penetrating remarks apply to the larger world in which we live. When we give it thought, we realize that human life is intrinsically valuable and, in that sense, "all people are our people." It is from this perspective that countless people over the ages have given their lives without a blink of an eye to save the life of another.But it was Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dennis "Dee" Lund who, for all of us, made the supreme sacrifice on June 16. Involved with other officers in a high-speed chase and shootout with two teenagers on I-70 near Green River, Lund was shot in the face as he attempted to get ahead of their vehicle to warn any eastbound traffic of the hazard. Any of us - or any of our loved ones - could have been in that eastbound lane.

Lund isn't the only one who sacrificed. He left a wife, Brenda, who - knowing the risks - supported her husband in achieving his dream of being a police officer. She is left to raise alone two young children, Jared and Tina Marie.

If there is any good that can come from this senseless tragedy, perhaps it will be in our following trooper Lund's example of making other people "our people" - of looking after those who can't look after themselves. One of the qualities that separate us, as two-legged animals, from the four-legged ones is compassion, observes Beverly Sills. "It is what makes us stand up tall instead of crawling about on all fours. And standing up tall is what frees our arms to reach out to a fellow being and say, `Let me help you.' "

To grow in our ability to make other people "our people," we can benefit by adopting the following basic philosophical stances as our own. For example:

- We can view others - even those who are very different than ourselves - as our neighbors, as illustrated by Loudon Wainwrite: "Shortly after I saw Shoah, a documentary film about the Nazi death camps, I got into the elevator in my building with a man who lives a few floors below," he says. "We've had an elevator acquaintance for years - friendly, but limited to brief risings and fallings. In his slight European accident he asked me how I was. `Not too good,' I said. `How about you?'

"He looked at me sympathetically. `I decided long ago,' he said, `that only I had the power to make myself happy. You have to do this. Otherwise life is too much.' The elevator stopped. `After a war, after a concentration camp,' he said as he stepped off, `I find it's not too difficult to be happy.'

"Alone with my surprise as the door closed, I realized that in some other town, on some really bad day half a lifetime ago, they must have come and taken my neighbor away."

- In respect to other human beings, we can appreciate our similarities rather than disparage our differences. Ivon Noel Hume, an archeologist, says: "Peering into the face of a skeleton, an archeologist cannot help but be aware that he is eyeball to eyesocket with someone who knew the answers to many, if not all, of the questions he is asking. For my part, I know that although the bones may be those of a person whose culture rendered him superficially different from me, a cold wind still made him shiver, liquor befuddled his senses, and in the night a woman's arms made yesterday and tomorrow unimportant. In these, and in virtually every other human emotion, we are alike. Our hands touch, but the silence of eternity holds us apart."

- We can extend charitable love to others, even if they aren't like us.

In this regard, Sam Levenson observes: "We may not always see eye to eye, but we can try to see heart to heart."

Illustrating this point is pop star Cliff Richard, who describes a visit to a Bihari refugee camp in Bangladesh: "That first morning I must have washed my hands a dozen times," he says. "I didn't want to touch anything, least of all the people. Everyone was covered in sores and scabs.

"I was bending down to one little mite, mainly for the photographer's benefit, and trying hard not to have too close a contact. Just then someone accidentally stood on the child's fingers. He screamed and, as a reflex, I grabbed him, forgetting his dirt and his sores. I remember that warm little body clinging to me and the crying instantly stopping. In that moment I knew I had much to learn about practical Christian loving, but that at least I'd started."

In sacrificing your life for us, trooper Lund, you have taught us a profound lesson in the giving of Christian love. In honoring you and your family, and the many other police officers who have given their lives in the call of duty, many of us will heighten our commitment to make other people "our people."