This morning, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Corrections Chiefs Committee gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor correctional officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Since the Memorial was first dedicated in October 1991, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Corrections Chiefs Committee has conducted an annual ceremony at the Memorial to recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation’s correctional officers.
The roll call of fallen heroes was solemnly read aloud as members of the participating honor guards carried red roses to the center medallion of the Memorial. A special moment of tribute was held for for Carolyn Ann Cross, Deputy Director of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, who was lost last year. After each flower was placed, a single bell tolled. In a traditional symbolic gesture, white doves were released at the end of the ceremony and a wreath was placed at the medallion.
The ceremony is held during National Correctional Officers and Employees Week (May 3-9, 2015), which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Proclaiming the first-ever National Correctional Officers’ Week on May 5, 1984, President Reagan called “upon officials of State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
In 1996, Congress officially changed the name of the week to National Correctional Officers and Employees Week. These courageous heroes are forever remembered. Their light continues to shine through their memory and through the selfless men and women who continue to serve each day.