May 15 was designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day, during the week to be known as Police Week, by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. So many things have changed in the world of law enforcement, and our nation has lost so many officers since then. Still, police memorial services are held all over the country, flags are flown at half-staff, and the names are read aloud...the names of every officer who made the ultimate sacrifice and had their name engraved on the monument.
If anyone has never attended a police memorial service, I urge you to come this Thursday to the Police Memorial Park behind the Hopkinsville Police Department. If the Color Guard and the 21 gun salute don't get your heart pounding, the playing of taps should at least give you chill bumps.
Our annual FOP Police Memorial always has an amazing crowd, with civilians and law enforcement officers from the U.S. Army, the Kentucky State Police, Christian County Sheriff's Office, Hopkinsville Police Department and various other law enforcement agencies. I am honored to work with these officers every day, and I am a proud member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Hopkinsville Lodge #12. Our secretary, Quentin Stone, may have said it best: "It’s been 16 years since we had a name engraved on the monument. May we never have to engrave another."
During this Police Week, let us not just remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but take this opportunity to show your gratitude to those men and women who have taken the risk of having their name engraved on that memorial. Those are the risk takers and peace makers who get up every day and strap on their gun, their bulletproof vest and their badge, knowing it could be their last.
Please find a way to thank an officer - for answering that call, for safeguarding our lives and property, and for risking it all to protect and serve the people - even those who do not like or respect them. And, please join us at the Police Memorial Service, Thursday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. at Police Memorial Park. You will not be disappointed.