In 2016, the profession of law enforcement, and our nation, lost 135 police officers in the line of duty. This national figure is the highest it has been since 2001, with nearly half of these brave men and women having been killed in ambush-style attacks; with the remaining being a result of various other incidents, including traffic-related accidents and suffering heart attacks on the job.
This May marks the 55th year, in which thousands of police officers, law enforcement professionals, friends, family, and survivors of these tragic losses, gathered in Washington, D.C. for National Police Week. This event began on May 11th and concluded May 17th. One of the more moving experiences is the candlelight memorial, which takes place at the National Mall, wherein the names of the 135 officers being forever etched into the memorial wall are read aloud, while their loved ones are present, and a wreath is laid in their honor.
For many within the law enforcement community, it is their way of honoring the fallen, saying goodbye to old friends, or simply paying tribute to a brother or sister in blue, whom they may have never known; all the while, remembering those who have gone before them and who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Therefore, as we go about our week and life begins to pass us by, perhaps we too can take a moment, whether in the quiet of our own hearts, or in a local ceremony; and honor those who chose to be the thin blue line between good and evil, going into the places we often fear, as to allow us to live the life we’d always dreamed. As “it is not how these officers died that made them heroes, but how they lived”.