Updated December 8, 2021
December 11, 2008 – Twenty years ago, a Philadelphia woman put blue lights in her windows during the holiday season in honor of her son-in-law, a police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. This year, law enforcement families and supporters across the United States will once again be decorating in blue to remember those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who continue to serve and protect.
Blue lights in windows, homes and on Christmas trees during the holiday season are a visible reminder of the service and sacrifice that law enforcement officers make on behalf of all Americans 365 days a year.
The tradition traces its roots to 1988, when Mrs. Dolly Craig wrote a letter to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), a non-profit organization that provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Mrs. Craig said she would be putting blue lights in her windows that holiday season in honor of her son-in-law, Philadelphia Police Officer Danny Gleason, who had been shot and killed in June 1986 while investigating a vandalism report. Mrs. Craig thought others might like to share her idea.
Over the years, Project Blue Light has grown into a nationwide initiative to honor law enforcement. In addition to individual supporters, many law enforcement agencies participate in the effort by staging their own Blue Light ceremonies. In the nation’s capital, for example, the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Chapter of C.O.P.S. decorated a blue spruce tree outside police headquarters using blue lights and ornaments created by the children of fallen officers.
To make a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, click here.