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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

Honoring men, women of the blue line

May 12, 2010 | 07:21 AM
In 1962, President Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as 'Peace Officers Memorial Day' and the week in which that date falls as "Police Week." Twenty years after the declaration, the first official memorial service took place on Capitol Hill's Senate Park in Washington, D.C. Only 125 people attended to honor 91 law enforcement officers. Today, Police Week is celebrated in ceremonies across the country, and National Police Week is observed from May 9 to 15.

In 1994, Congress adopted and President Clinton enacted a law requiring the American flag be lowered to half-staff on May 15 as a special tribute to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. In 1996, final approval was given to build a Law Enforcement Memorial here at the Wisconsin State Capitol, which is now located on the Capitol grounds on the North Hamilton approach. It is made of the same bethel granite from which the state Capitol was constructed, circular in nature, and includes the names of all Wisconsin Law Enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty.

Wisconsin's fallen officers are remembered and honored during the annual Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, and this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the observance. During this years' ceremony, hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state convene on the square of the State Capitol to pay tribute to their comrades who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their state and community.

Currently, there are approximately 740,000 law enforcement officers serving across the nation. The names of more than 18,000 officers killed while serving are engraved on the Federal Memorial in Washington, D.C. The names date back to 1792, and include ten officers killed by the notorious outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde, as well as Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, who was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald just moments after the assassination of President Kennedy.

In 2002, the names of the 72 officers killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were added to the Federal Memorial. The 9/11 attack was the deadliest day in law enforcement history, and the deadliest year was 1974 when 270 officers died. On average, 150 officers die each year in the line of duty. In 2009, 126 law enforcement officers fell, one being from Wisconsin, and to date in 2010, 59 officers have lost their life performing their duty, including one from Wisconsin.

All Americans are encouraged to display blue ribbons on their vehicle antennas to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to honor the brave officers who dedicate themselves to this profession. They perform a service that many take for granted and some simply do not respect. They are our friends and neighbors sworn to protect and serve our friends and family, and they deserve our utmost gratitude. This week, please take a moment to remember the men and women who put themselves in harms' way to uphold the law, protect our communities, and keep the peace.

Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707-7882, or by calling toll-free (800) 578-1457. He may be reached in the district at (262) 742-2025 or online at www.senatorkedzie.com.

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