In case you’re not aware, Monday, May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day and the entire week it’s in is National Police Week.
Both are nationally recognized since the early 1960s. The single-day and week-long holidays were created on Oct. 1, 1961, when Congress asked President John F. Kennedy to designate them for honoring peace officers across the nation. Kennedy signed the bill into law a year later on Oct. 1, 1962.
I like the idea that Kennedy and Congressional members at the time decided law enforcement officers were worthy of official, nationwide appreciation. I think they deserve all the appreciation that comes their way – and more.
Sure, that flies in the face of recent trends, which have most mainstream media sources throwing law officers under the bus for reasons that more often than not amount to doing their jobs. Heck, even a lot of citizens (mainly in the big cities) act like cops are enemies, rather than protectors of their freedom, physical well-being and possessions.
Mind you, those would be uninformed (a.k.a. ignorant) and misguided citizens, not the majority who give more credibility to what’s real than what’s trendy. Yep, majority; right now statistics show that more than 95-percent of people in rural communities and more than 70-percent in cities approve of what law enforcement officers are doing and whole-heartedly support them.
I submit this rudimentary question: How could you not?
These men and women put themselves in harm’s way every time they go to work, and they do it for the sole purpose of keeping life safe and manageable for the people in their given communities, counties, states or country. In other words, they toil for the benefit of the rest of us.
And today more than ever, providing that benefit means dealing with a constant threat of danger. I mean, every single response is heavily laden with an element of the unknown.
You might be dispatched regarding a complaint that someone’s dog keeps dropping calling cards on the neighbor’s lawn, a report that a man threw a paper cup at a woman or to investigate why someone’s shovel is on the wrong side of the outbuilding, but you have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen when you arrive at your destination, and maybe have to knock on the door to make contact with someone.
That’s scary stuff, no mater how you want to spin it.
Of course, there are going to be exceptions, and a few outlying crooked, self-righteous individuals surely exist within the entire sphere of law enforcement. But that certainly goes for every segment of society, and I’m going to say it’s less prevalent in the law enforcement segment than in most others.
Anyway, my little corner of Texas County has given me the pleasurable opportunity to get to know a lot of people in the law enforcement field, and – if I may say so – I have in turn compiled a large set of building blocks from which to construct a viewpoint of what they do. For the record, that viewpoint is positive – big-time – and to me, there’s no way to express an appropriate level of gratitude or provide enough commendation and adulation to law enforcement personnel.
But on behalf of the many of us who feel that way, I want to simply say “thank you” to all of you. You’re special people performing a special duty that’s an integral (and extremely important) part of the lives of everyone who calls America home.
Even the folks who don’t like you.
Please forgive them. They just don’t get it.
Joint Resolution 76 Stat. 676.
To authorize the President to proclaim May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week of each year during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week.
Whereas the police officers of America have worked devotedly and selflessly in behalf of the people of this Nation, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves; and
Whereas these officers have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow Americans; and
Whereas by the enforcement of our laws, these same officers have given our country internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder that is presently affecting other nations;
Whereas these men and women by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of the Republic: Now, therefore, be it:
Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to issue proclamations (1) designating May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day in honor of the Federal, State, and municipal officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty, (2) directing the officials of the Government to display at half-staff the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on such day, as provided by section 3(m) of the Act of June 22, 1942 (Chapter 435; 56 Stat. 377; 36 U. S. C. 175), (3) designating in each year the calendar week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws, and (4) inviting the governments of the States and communities and the people of the United States to observe such day and week with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including the display at half-staff of the flag of the United States.
Approved October 1, 1962.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.