Monday, May 15, 2017

Peace Officer Memorial Day

Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day. What does that mean? On May 15th of each year we pay tribute to officers who last their lives or were injured in the line of duty.
Many businesses and community members across the nation, especially those who lost family members, friends or colleagues who were local officers, will lower their flags in remembrance of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Some police departments hold an annual law enforcement memorial ceremony on this day.
Each year, the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary organizes a national memorial service on the day, drawing thousands of people from many parts of the United States. The service is followed by the placement of a memorial wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. On this day, people are also reminded of the need to be vigilant against all forms of crime.
I feel it is also a time of remembering our law enforcement officers who put their live on the line every day for us the citizens of the United States. My back ground is in military, but I’ve trained with, competed against and with, and have had a brotherhood with many law enforcement officers. I admire them and respect their line of work. Some people don’t like them. But there are bad elements of every profession. In Law Enforcement these are few and far between. Please thank an officer today.
Each year, the president of the United States proclaims May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week of each year during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week.
According to the Legal Information Institute, the president is requested to issue a proclamation to: designate May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day; to direct government officials to display the United States flag at half-staff on all government buildings; and to invite state and local governments and the people to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
FLYING THE FLAG AT HALF-STAFF: The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, "by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
In the event of the death a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that state, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff." The code also includes other related details including the specific length of time during which the flag should be displayed at half-staff, in the event of the death of a "principal figure"(e.g., 30 days for the death of a sitting or former President, 10 days for the death of a sitting Vice-President,etc.).
There are over-lapping theories on how and when the practice began. The first written information about the flag came as early as the 16th century when the Master of the British ship Hearts Ease was murdered by Eskimos while on an expedition in search of the Northwest Passage. As a gesture of mourning, the flag was flown over the stern of the ship when it returned to London.
Other articles have claimed the tradition began 100 years later, in the 17th century. But many experts observe the tradition probably began with nautical roots in the 14th or 15th century. Tall ships with high masts made it possible to lower the flag to half-mast. Smaller ships could lower the flag one-width down, supposedly to fly an invisible flag of death, which was very prevalent at the time. The space above the flag was also considered to be a “salute” to the departed.
Absent a ship’s mast, flags are flown at half-staff if on land. The flag can be flown at half-staff at the request of a state governor and the president to the United States. The flag is flown from sunrise to sunset on specific days, except on Memorial Day when the flag is flown at half-staff until noon, then raised to full-staff. The first half of the day remembers war dead; the second half honors Veterans who are still alive.

Semper Paratus
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