A Week of Remembrance: Police Week
By Joe Uliano, M.A., Ed.S.
On May 13, 2017, I was on the ground at the National Law Enforcement Memorial with staff writer, Debra Faretra, where we patiently awaited the arrival of the “Police Unity Tour.” To our surprise, we were simply overwhelmed with the excitement of watching 2500 riders circle the marble wall that holds the names of more than 20,000 police officers, who died in the line of duty. Looking in from the outside, I quickly found that my emotions began to shift away, turning from excitement to sorrow.
As the riders passed by, I began to notice the names and patches of fallen officers that each rider was riding for, a sobering experience to say the least. Looking a little closer, I found many riders consumed by their own emotions, as tears ran down the faces of our brave warriors. Every rider I had the honor of speaking with, described the ride as being physically and mentally demanding, but each of them unselfishly concluding their remarks by saying “We Ride for Those Who Died.”
On May 14th, we returned to the “WALL,” and found it to be one of the most solemn experiences of our lives. We discovered that there were hundreds of family members standing at the base of the wall paying their respects to the name of their loved one engraved in the marble. This was a personal moment for them, but I am grateful that many of them were willing to share, stories of how their loved one lived rather than how they died. Many were leaving behind poems, flowers, photographs, and somebody even left a bottle of Coke with the name “Melvin” on it. At times the only sounds we heard was the wind, bagpipers coming from afar, and the unfortunate cries that articulate the fact that the pain of losing a loved one never truly fades away.
That evening we headed to the National Mall and attended the annual candlelight vigil where it can only be described as a “Sea of Blue.” Thousands upon thousands were in attendance and as the sun went down, this mass of people was clearly defined by the amount of lit candles lighting up the sky. Each candle served as a show of solidarity, which allowed us to find solace in those around us and from the dignitaries that spoke.
On May 15th, President Donald Trump presented himself in front of the Capital, where he offered his condolences to the families and then rallied the audience by saying it is his priority to ensure that law enforcement is “finally treated fairly with honor and respect.” He also made reference to the increase in law enforcement deaths in 2016 and declared, “The attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now. Every drop of blood spilled from our heroes in blue is a wound inflicted upon the whole country,” Trump said.
President Trump’s presence and remarks left an assuring feeling that help is on the way and he intends to be there for our law enforcement and the families of our fallen.
Please exercise a moment of silence and reflect upon our fallen, so that their memory will live on in our hearts and minds, and they are never forgotten.