Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama Didn't Speak At The National Peace Officers Memorial

While it's tradition for the World Series Champions to visit the White House each year there is also another tradition that happens in Washington, DC every May 15th. It is known as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and was signed into law on October 1, 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. That is the day that a ceremony is held at the United States Capitol to honor all law enforcement officers who made the Supreme Sacrifice the previous year. Historically, the President of the United States is the keynote speaker and welcomes the survivors as each officer's name is announced and the family places a flower in the FOP wreath in honor of their loved one.

The husbands, wives and children of the 134 officers killed last year in the Line of Duty were not the only family members who came to the ceremony. Their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers also came to the Capitol to honor their hero. Also, the officers that served with them were in attendance. So there they were, almost 1,000 police survivors from every corner of the country, seated on the West Lawn of the Capitol waiting to be welcomed by the President only to find that he was unable to attend due to a photo opportunity and a 10 minute speech to a baseball team.

It's not the Phillies fault that the President of the United States was busy welcoming them to the Rose Garden, they deserved that, but if it was known that the Law Enforcement Memorial Service was scheduled for noon on May 15th I'm sure an adjustment would have been made to accommodate both.

My question is how do you tell a child whose parent was killed protecting his community, that the President would not be coming to honor his mom or dad because even though he was just down the street he was too busy taking a picture with a baseball team. The City of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley and our country has seen way too many officers killed in the Line of Duty. FYI...there are 18,661 names on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, and one horrible fact remains. Every 53 hours a Police Officer is killed in the Line of Duty.

At every funeral you see the outpouring of grief and sympathy from our citizens. There are fund raisers at Geno's, Finnegan's Wake, the FOP and numerous establishments around the city to support the officer's family. We as Police Officers cannot thank the citizens enough for their kindness, generosity and support, but the men and women who were in DC for Police Week are reeling from the President's decision not to pay his respects by attending the memorial service but instead chose to welcome a baseball team to the Rose Garden. There is no comparison. There is no excuse. There is no justification. I don't understand his reasoning....go pay my respects to 134 Police Officers killed in the Line of Duty or take a picture with a baseball team.

I became a Police Officer in 1974 and retired in 2001 and in those 35 years I may have missed 4 or 5 funerals but I've yet to miss the Memorial Service in DC. His disregard of the 134 Fallen Officers, their families and departments is beyond comprehension. IT IS A DISGRACE!!!

Sgt. Richard G. Desmond
Camden NJPD/Retired

President/1994 - Present
Camden County Emerald Society

Past National President/2002-2005
National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies
I have attended the memorial twice & president Bush spoke both times not only that he talked to each individual family that lost a loved one in the line of duty for 10 to 15 minutues each . Thats the diffrence between Barry & Bush