Wednesday, May 13, 2009
21st Annual Law Enforcement Candlelight Vigil - NLEOM, Washinghton, DC
Everywhere I went in DC, in Arlington, in Alexandria there were uniformed officers, marked police motorcycles and bike cyclist wear their police shirts or PUT uniforms. It was surreal to see so many shades of blue, brown, tan, khaki and green. Local city, county, state, federal police and corrections personnel converging on one place at one time for one purpose to honor the fallen.
The NLEOM began filling around 5pm in preparation for the 8pm Candlelight Vigil. Officers wearing tee shirts, hats and pins with photos and phrases referring to their fallen officer. Family members and co-workers placed momentos, letters, wreaths and token in front of the panel honoring their officer. The person behind the name permenantly memorialized on this tributary. In 2008 we lost 133 officer according to the NLEOM in the line of duty over two hundred additional officers were added that had recently been discovered.
Each survivor of a fallen officer in 2008 was escorted to reserved seating near the events stage. They were given a nice NLEOM bag which contained a program and a ceremony program.
The faces that stood out were those of the children. I noticed a tall fifteen to sixteen year old young man who clearly had on his Father's suit coat. It may be the comfort a child needs when they know they will no longer see their father again. They want anything that reminds them of their lost loved one.
A young eight year old girl staring at the flickering light of her candle as if it truly represented her fallen officer. As if it represnted the mom or dad that would not be home tonight or make her next recital, or help her build her doll house or take her to see Mickey at Disneyland. Seraching for answers in the light.
US Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. gave the keynote speech. This nationas Top Cop told mourners to "grieve but reject dispair" he commended the fallen saying, "They served and sacrificed for a cause far greater than themselves"
COPS National President Jennifer Thacker spoke and encouraged the survivors to be a living memorial of their lost loved one. To live so that they uphold the heroes creed. A living Memorial, I like that so I title this blog that. The advice works for survivors of a Line Of Duty death or a survivor of a lost family member. Love them and be present with them while they are still alive and honor their memory with a life well lived and in service to other. Jennifer helped set up COPS which has helped thousands over the pass 25 years.
Lt. Randy Sutton of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sang the National Anthem