Superior, Wisc. — The public is invited to gather around a solitary monument in the Government Center atrium at noon Thursday to remember heroes.
Six names are inscribed on the marble pillar -- Superior Police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
They are a reminder, said Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters, that "freedom in our own country isn't free. It was paid for with the blood of many police officers."
A national memorial in Washington D.C. bears the names of more than 17,900 officers who have fallen in the line of duty. That number includes 241 from Wisconsin. Beside each name is the inscription, "In valor, there is hope." The names of the Wisconsin fallen are also found on a memorial in Madison.
Thursday's Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony is a central part of National Law Enforcement Memorial Week, May 13-19.
The event serves two purposes, said Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec. It's a tribute to the officers who died helping others and also a reminder for residents to keep the officers currently serving "in their thoughts and prayers."
For Terry Jacobson of Superior, the ceremony is personal. His grandfather, Constable A. G. (Adolf) Jacobson, was shot and killed April 18, 1941, while serving papers at an East End residence.
"If you look at a lot of the officers that fall in the line of duty, they get up every day to do a job and every day, I know it's kind of a worn-out phrase, but they put their life on the line every day," he said. "Things like that can happen at the most unexpected moments."
The nature of the job sets law enforcement officers apart.
"Police officers are ordinary people who do extraordinary things," Peters said. "When other people run away from danger and tragedy, police officers run into the problems and into danger to protect us, even at the cost of their lives."
But, he said, that's what they do.
"Most cops will tell you that helping people in need is a moment they live for even if it means putting their own life at risk," he said.
This is the second year the ceremony has encompassed both sides of the bridge. Along with Superior's fallen six, seven Duluth Police officers who died in the line of duty and one St. Louis County deputy who died while on the job in 2002 will be remembered.
The ceremony will include a joint honor guard, the sound of bagpipes, comments by local law enforcement leaders and a student's rendition of "Taps." Superior Mayor Dave Ross will be the keynote speaker.
Even representatives from Canada are expected to attend.
"We're all brothers and sisters working for a common good," Peters said. That bond "crosses bridges and borders and national lines, even."
The event will focus on those who have been lost and those who carry on their work -- to serve and protect.
As Ross wrote in his proclamation declaring May 13-19 Law Enforcement Memorial Week, "may we never forget the sacrifice each has made."