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Press Release provided by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF)
Washington, D.C. — On Friday, May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day, flags across the United States are to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the 18,661 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout our nation’s history.
This special tribute to America’s fallen law enforcement officers was included in the historic crime bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994. At the request of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), Public Law 103-322 designated Peace Officers Memorial Day as one of only two days each year during which all government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half staff. Memorial Day, honoring fallen veterans of foreign wars, is the other day.
“Just as we honor those who died in military service each Memorial Day, our nation pauses each May 15 to show its appreciation for the thousands of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our communities and safeguarding our democracy here at home,” said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the NLEOMF. “Lowering flags to half staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day is also a way to remember the family members, friends and colleagues these brave American heroes left behind.”
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy and Congress designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. The calendar week in which May 15 falls is National Police Week; this year’s commemoration occurs from May 10-16.
As part of National Police Week 2009, the names of 133 law enforcement officers killed in 2008, as well as 254 others who died in prior years, will be formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, on May 13, during the 21st Annual Candlelight Vigil. For the first time ever, the vigil will be streamed live over the Internet, so people across the country can witness the ceremony, at which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver the keynote address.
On May 15, the surviving family members of officers killed in 2008 will be honored at the Peace Officers Memorial Day Service at the U.S. Capitol. Following the service, a commemorative wreath will be moved to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where law enforcement Honor Guard units from across the country will stand watch in successive shifts until 12 midnight, at which time the flags at the Memorial will be returned to full staff.