Gesture by a Philadelphia woman 20 years ago grows into national tradition
Provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Twenty years ago, a Philadelphia woman put blue lights in her windows during the holiday season in honor of her son-in-law, a police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. This year, law enforcement families and supporters across the United States will once again be decorating in blue to remember those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who continue to serve and protect.
"The color blue is a symbol of peace, and this holiday season we urge all Americans to remember our domestic peacekeepers — the men and women of law enforcement — by putting blue lights in your windows and trimming your tree and home in blue," said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "Blue lights during the holiday season are a visible reminder of the service and sacrifice that law enforcement officers make on behalf of all Americans 365 days a year."
The tradition traces its roots to 1988, when Mrs. Dolly Craig wrote a letter to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), a non-profit organization that provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Mrs. Craig said she would be putting blue lights in her windows that holiday season in honor of her son-in-law, Philadelphia Police Officer Danny Gleason, who had been shot and killed in June 1986 while investigating a vandalism report. Mrs. Craig thought others might like to share her idea.
Over the years, Project Blue Light has grown into a nationwide initiative to honor law enforcement. In addition to individual supporters, many law enforcement agencies participate in the effort by staging their own Blue Light ceremonies. In the nation's capital, for example, the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Chapter of C.O.P.S. decorate a blue spruce tree outside police headquarters using blue lights and ornaments created by the children of fallen officers.
This year, the Memorial Fund is selling blue, LED-battery operated votive candles in its Visitors Center & Store, 400 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC, as well as through its online gift shop (www.nleomf.org/catHome.htm). In addition, the Memorial Fund's "Holiday Heroes" program allows people to honor a fallen, retired or currently serving officer this holiday season through a donation that will be acknowledged in the Visitors Center.
For information about the Memorial Fund, visit www.LawMemorial.org. To learn more about Concerns of Police Survivors, visit www.nationalcops.org.