In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Police Officers Memorial Day. This holiday was created to pay tribute to the countless local, state, and federal peace officers who have died or become disabled in the line of duty. According to recent statistics, between 140 and 160 law enforcement officers are killed in the line of duty each year, and countless more are injured, including those who suffer permanent disabilities.
The week in which Police Officers Memorial Day falls each year is designated as National Police Week. The weeklong observance serves as a time when all supporters of law enforcement, whether civilians, family, friends, or police officers themselves, can gather and pay homage to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while upholding their duties.
Many cities and communities across the country host organized events as tribute, from memorial services and ceremonies to candlelight vigils, community gatherings and more. A quick internet search in your geographical area should turn up plenty of options.
If you are looking for other ways to pay tribute to law enforcement officers during National Police Week, Sunday, May 14 through Saturday, May 20, or on Police Officers Memorial Day, here are a few ideas that almost anyone can accomplish.
1. Simply say, “thank you” if you see a police or other law enforcement officer. You can be certain that a brief, heartfelt acknowledgement of an officer’s daily sacrifice will be appreciated.
2, Write a letter of appreciation and send it or drop it off to your local police department. Similarly, write a letter to the editor of your local or regional paper expressing your gratitude to the many who have served and sacrificed.
3. Drop off a gift certificate to a local pizza parlor to your local police station, which can be used for takeout. Rest assured that hungry officers either starting or coming off a shift will appreciate it!
4. Search for organized events in your city, county or region. A simple internet search will likely offer plenty of options that are close to home.
5. Offer a donation to a non-profit or charity organization who serves law enforcement officers and families.
6. Use social media to spread the word about Police Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week. Share positive stories or experiences you or others you know have had with law enforcement.
One of the largest gatherings in the United States for this important day and week of observance for law enforcement began in 1982, in Washington, D.C. That year, approximately 120 survivors and supporters gathered in Senate Park to pay tribute to the fallen and injured. Each year since then, the event has grown exponentially. Today, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from all over the world come to our nation’s capital to take part in organized events honoring law enforcement personnel who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Remember, paying tribute to police officers who have been disabled or have died in the line of duty is a show of support for all law enforcement who currently serve. Yet another way to show your support is by telling a law enforcement officer in your family or circle of friends about NPBFA long term care plans.
To learn more about National Police Week, visit www.policeweek.org.