“By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962…the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”
Thousands of police officers, as well as survivors of those who were killed in the line of duty, gathered this week in Washington, D.C. to honor those who died in 2018. The event was originally approved by President Kennedy in 1962 and has grown to over 40,000 supporters in recent years.
Many of the events focus on The National Peace Officers Memorial in Senate Park. The week’s activities are sponsored by a variety of organizations that work with and support our law enforcement personnel throughout the year, such as the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, Auxiliaries, Concerns of Police Survivors, National Police Survivors, and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens. The schedule of events provides a variety of ways for everyone to participate in a way that is personally meaningful, from the laying of flowers by survivors, a 5K run, a Bike Ride, and a K9 Memorial Service.
Survivors are greeted as they arrive in the area by an Honor Guard member (representing over 250 units from around the U.S.) who ensures that they are welcomed and treated with the respect they deserve.
“We’ll carry their bags, try to give them little things to remember us by, patches, coins, talk to them about loved ones and family,” Officer Kevin Zodrow from the Leesburg, Virginia Police Department explained.
John Footman from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office added, “As part of the honor guard, we want to show the families we care about their loss and the hardship they suffered and make this journey a little pleasant and show them law enforcement cares about them and we have their hearts in mind.”
A centerpiece of the activities is the Roll Call of names of officers killed in the line of duty. Each survivor is escorted throughout the experience, including the laying of a flower on the wreath as each name is read, with the escort rendering a salute.
Survivor Christy Dagnillo said, “They will never know how much this means to all of us. From my heart, I wish I could thank each and every one of them because it is just amazing.” To all of the policemen and women around the country, we salute you.