A Busy Day At The Walls

As daybreak set upon the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, it was again off to a busy start. It seemed that as one crew broke down an event, another arrived to assemble the next.

A few blocks away at John Marshall Park, the 6th Annual Steve Young Honor Guard Competition took place with dozens of teams from across the country competing. Meanwhile at the walls, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives held its annual service to honor and remember their fallen officers around mid-day, with the sounds of bagpipes and trumpets. That event culminated just as the Law Runners arrived to run the Memorial pathways in the end of their journey. After that, the Shomrin Society’s Kaddish Service honored Jewish law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

All the while, many folks stopped by the walls throughout the day to walk, leave flowers, make rubbings of a loved one’s name, visit with friends new and old … and remember.

Outside the Visitors Center, an amazing young boy from Florida named Pat Pedraja, a 12 year old boy who was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2006, kicked off his second national Driving for Donors effort. At the special “Donormobile,” close to 200 people — almost all of them National Police Week visitors — signed up for the National Marrow Registry to help provide life-saving help for people like Pat. This was second year in a row that Pat, his mom Claudine, brother Tucker, and their grandparents stopped by National Police Week to help spread the word about the need for marrow donations and to collect swabs.

The evening closed with the 13th Annual Emerald Society & Pipeband March and Service commencing around 6 pm. To the sounds of pipebands from up and down the East Coast and beyond, visitors paid homage to all fallen law enforcement officers, especially those of Gaelic descent. Honor guard units from across the nation are standing watch at the Memorial center medallion, until flags are lowered to half staff at midnight in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

It was truly a day to remember and celebrate our fallen heroes.