Once again 24Seven had the good fortune to travel to Washington D.C. for National Police Week where the name of 153 fallen officers from 2004 and an additional 262 forgotten or lost names will be memorialized. Although there are literally thousands of officers from all over the states, we couldn’t help but notice many others from Canada, England, Aruba and several other European countries who traveled a great distance to partake in the week long ceremonies and tributes. There are always many highlights that take place over the week and depending on your role and/or involvement in the law enforcement community, there is a little something for everyone.
During the week, you meet husbands, wives, sons & daughters, partners & friends from every walk of life who have been personally touched by some of the tragedies that bring us all to Police Week. At any given hour during the week, you will find people at the memorial sitting and looking at the names and reflecting on their memories of lost loved ones. Many tears are shed, but many smiles can also been seen as survivors remember the happy times as well as the sad times. Complete strangers can be seen consoling each other without a word being spoken, as the thin blue line connects all of us.
The most touching and emotional moments for many are reading the cards that are left at the wall during the week. Although numerous items have been left at the walls of the memorial such as a Police Harley gas tank and a pair of boots along with pictures, patches and cards of memory, for many of us it is the small posters that are left behind by the children.
For some of us, it can take hours to get through a single small poster with the picture of the surviving children of an officer. So many of them start with “Dear Daddy or Dear Mommy” I am now ? years old and I am doing good. I miss you and think about you everyday. So many of these same posters have pictures of the children both before and after the tragedy with their sports teams, schools and friends as well as the surviving parent. The most touching are the words the children use to describe how and what they are feeling. The sheer honesty and raw emotion of young children serves as a reminder to all of us that these officers were not just a badge and uniform, but a mother or father, son or daughter, friend or partner. Perhaps if some of today’s journalists could spend some time at the memorial, they would not be so quick to condemn who we are and what we do. (Letter to Fallen Officer from Daughter)
24Seven would like to encourage officers of all ranks, departments and countries to attend this week long event at least once as it is a sobering reminder of who we are, what we do and why we do it.
We Shall Never Forget You
Police Week Events
May 12, 2005 – The arrival of the Police Unity Tour bicyclists from various points in the U.S as well as some from other countries. The riders are met by thousands of spectators young and old. The tour which started in 1997 has featured 1000’s of riders and raised over $1.5 million for the National Memorial.
May 13, 2005 – The National C.O.P.’s & C.O.P.’s kids program kicks off. The National Police Challenge 50-Kilometer Relay Race takes place in Laurel, Maryland. The 17th Annual Candlelight Vigil sees more than 20,000 officers, families and friends pay tribute to the 153 officers killed in the line of duty last year as well as the 262 additional names that have been lost or forgotten.
May 14, 2005 – The National C.O.P.’s & C.O.P.’s kids program continues. The arrival of the 10th Annual Law Ride featuring motorcyclists from all over the states on every kind of bike imaginable. The 10th Annual Emerald Society & Pipe band March and Service. The 3rd Annual Steve Young Honor Guard Competition which is held by Grant’s Tomb near the U.S. Capitol and was won by the D.C. Capitol Police.
May 15, 2005 – The 24th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial took place on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building which was followed by the FOP/FOPA Wreath laying Ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. While on the front lawn of the Capitol Building, it is a sobering sight to see bus load after bus load of survivors arrive in a amongst large convoy of various police vehicles.