Peace Officers Memorial Day
|Peace Officers Memorial Day|
|Official name||Peace Officers Memorial Day|
|Also called||National Police Week|
Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and Federal peace officers who have died in the line of duty. The Memorial takes place on May 15, and Police Week is the calendar week in which the Memorial falls. The event is sponsored by the National Fraternal Order of Police and is implemented by the National FOP Memorial Committee. Other events of National Police Week include the Annual Blue Mass, Candlelight Vigil, Wreath Laying Ceremony, National Police Survivors Conference, Honor Guard Competition, and the Emerald Society & Pipe Band March and Service. The events draw 25,000 to 40,000 law enforcement officers and their families to Washington, DC every year.
The holiday was created on October 1, 1961, when Congress asked the president to designate May 15 to honor peace officers. John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962. The Proclamation Signed by President John F. Kennedy:
To pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (75 Stat.676), has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day," and the week in which it falls as "Police Week" and by Public Law 103-322 (36 U.S.C. 175) has requested that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers' Memorial Day.
"Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week pay tribute to the local, State, and Federal law enforcement officers who serve and protect us with courage and dedication. These observances also remind us of the ongoing need to be vigilant against all forms of crime, especially to acts of extreme violence and terrorism."
The 143 fallen officers we honor today put themselves on the front lines of that fight, to preserve that quality of community, and to protect the roots of our greatness. They exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others. They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live. We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families, but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory. That begins, but does not end, by gathering here -- with heavy hearts, to carve their names in stone, so that all will know them, and that their legacy will endure. We are grateful to them and we are grateful to you.
Much of the holiday centers on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., whose walls feature the names of more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.
- "Remarks by the President at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
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