On Oct. 1, 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week containing May 15 as National Police Week. Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., during this week now include the annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National Peace Officers Memorial Day Service. Across the nation, agencies honor and bring awareness to law enforcement with memorial services, police department open houses and SWAT team demonstrations. Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS) distributes blue ribbons for officers to tie to their car antennas on May 15 and flags are flown at half staff to call national attention to fallen officers.
We Irish are famous for using stories, poems and songs to make a point. In the spirit of National Police Week, the short piece below serves to remind you of who you are and the meaning of the oath you took. I hope it gladdens your heart, relights the candle of service burning inside you and reminds you of the true magnificence of our brothers and sisters who wear the badge and carry the gun.
We defend the Constitution, freedom and the American way of life.
We perform courageously in the face of danger.
We step in harm s way to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
We embrace our calling, not as a job or career, but as a way of life.
We are at our best when the people around us are at their worst.
We treat the disrespectful with respect, the addicted with dignity, the mentally challenged with kindness, and we fight evil with good.
We remain physically and mentally fit lest our minds or bodies render us incapable of performing when called to serve others.
We guard against temptation of evil in all its forms.
We reject all who would seek to influence our actions through gift or favor.
We remain constantly vigilant lest one of us should fall into the grips of despair.
We cry alone, lest those who depend on us would lose heart in our suffering.
We accept the insignia of promotion as a special privilege.
We wear our medals only to pay homage to those who came before us.
We honor our dead, our traditions and our creed.
We respond in snowstorm or desert heat, in natural disaster or national holiday, and when tired or ill.
We put the public s needs ahead of our own wives, husbands, sons and daughters.
We do not retreat or shirk our duty.
We took the blood oath and we answer the call to serve.
We are law officers.