On Friday, May 15 we attended the Memorial Ceremony held at the Capitol Building. It was another gorgeous day although a little hot for those in polyester! Nick and Sarah even got a chance to stand guard at the wreath that would later be placed at the Law Enforcement Memorial. One survivor from each officer that was killed in 2008 and being honored this year received a red flower that they placed in the wreath when their loved ones name was read. Another emotional day but also a very good experience. The entire walkway that the survivors entered the ceremony was lined with officers 2 or more deep saluting. The names were read by state and so any law enforcement agency from that state would line up and salute while the officers names were read for that state. It is just amazing how many officers take the time to come and honor their fallen comrades.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. is engraved with tens of thousands of names of all officers killed in the line of duty all across the United States. It is a spectacular sight all by itself but during Police Week the Memorial is adorned with flowers, pictures, badges, notes, scrapbook pages, shirts and pretty much everything in between honoring someone whose life was taken too soon protecting all of us. There are no words to describe the memorial. It is very emotional, especially when you see the wedding and family pictures or the officer who was killed holding their small child; or letters from the children of the fallen officers. The candlelight vigil is amazing. When all the candles are lit and there are thousands of people as far back as they can go, it is a moving sight. Unfortunately my pictures did not turn out during the candlelight vigil but the memory of all those candles will be engraved in my mind forever. Unfortunately we were out there to honor Deputy Jason S. Zunker whose name was engraved on the wall this year. In our group there were 14 people; Mike & Ann Marcks, Jeff & Gayle Soppeland, Sarah Larson, Andy & Dena Clark, Leah Berg, Missy Hagmann, Ray Duncan, Jason Jacobson, Kevin Nyseth, Nicholas and myself. It was a great experience and if we could afford it, I think it would be a yearly trip. But maybe every 3 years or so. We talked to officers from all around the U.S. and even some from London, England. One of the officers from London and another from Fairfax, Virginia rode in Jason's honor for the Police Unity Tour. The Police Unity Tour is an all law enforcement team of bicycle riders who ride from New York to D.C. Kudos to them!! It is a 4-5 hour drive in the car and they said about a 10-12 hour bike ride. At least this year they had good weather!!