Posts Tagged ‘Unite the Right’

The 37th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service

Today is Peace Officers Memorial DayThe idea of a Peace Officers Memorial Day came into effect when Congress asked the president to designate May 15 as a day “to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime.”  President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1961.   

In observance of this event, this afternoon I attended the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the west lawn of the United States Capitol Building.  The service, sponsored by the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police and the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary, was the 37th annual national service to honor and remember those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the previous year, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers they left behind.  Overall, 129 officers suffered line of duty deaths in 2017.  It is those heroes who were honored during today’s service, and whose names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The names of an additional 231 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now will also be added to the memorial this year.  The names of all 360 fallen officers nationwide were formally dedicated during this year’s Annual Candlelight Vigil that was held this past Sunday evening on the National Mall.

Thankfully, there were no line of duty deaths here in D.C. during 2017.  But in the surrounding area, there were two deaths in Maryland:  Sean Matthew Suiter of the Baltimore City Police Department (End of Watch 11/16/2017), and; Sander Benjamin Cohen, of the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal (E.O.W. 12/08/2017).  And in Virginia, we lost four heroes:  Curtis Allen Bartlett, of the Carroll County Sherriff’s Office (E.O.W. 3/09/20170); Michael Timothy Walter, of the Virginia State Police (E.O.W. 5/27/2017), and; the two Virginia State Police troopers who were killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring the civil unrest that was occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, during last summer’s “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally: Berke Morgan Matthew Bates and Henry John Cullen III (E.O.W. 8/12/2017).

 

[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

In addition too seeing and hearing the remarks offered by President Trump and Vice-President Pence, one of the highlights of the service for me was a performance by country music artists Branch and Dean of their song “The Dash.”

Prayer for Policemen

“O Almighty God, Whose great power and eternal Wisdom embraces the universe, Watch over all policemen and Law enforcement officers everywhere.  Protect them from harm In the performance of their duty To stop crime, robbery, Riots and violence.  We pray, help them keep our streets And homes safe, day and night.  We commend them to your loving care Because their duty is dangerous.  Grant them strength and courage In their daily assignments. Dear God, protect these brave men and women.  Grant them your almighty protection, Unite them safely with their families after Duty has ended.  Please God, grant us this wish.”

Matthew 5.9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

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Charlottesville to D.C. March and Protest

During this past week I stopped by McPherson Square Park (MAP) during my daily lunchtime bike rides a couple of times to try to talk with some of the protestors who recently marched from Charlottesville, Virginia, (my hometown) to D.C. (where I currently live), and are now camping out in the park.  They marched to D.C. in an effort to speak out against the type of white supremacy that was on display at the “Unite the Right” rally last month in Charlottesville, which ultimately turned into a violent clash between white supremacist protestors and a significant number of counter-protestors who showed up to oppose them, and which resulted in 19 injured and three dead.

On my first visit to the park I tried several times to engage individual protestors in conversation in an attempt to better understand their perspective on the issues in general, and their point-of-view on the recent violent incidents in Charlottesville in particular.  Unfortunately, they seemed much more interested in talking with each other than with anyone stopping by from the outside to talk with them.  So I stopped by again the next day.  Sadly, I was equally unimpressed with those I encountered on the second day.  They remained off by themselves, with most seeming to be in his or her own little world as they were preoccupied with their laptops or their cell phones.

The March to D.C. started in Charlottesville with nearly 200 marchers on August 28th.  But by the next morning there were only 35 marchers.  And by the time the group got to D.C. there were substantially fewer.  The number has increased by protestors from the D.C. area stopping by the park to bolster the original group from Charlottesville.  But the march and subsequent protest lost most of the momentum they started out with, resulting in the group being as unimpressive as the individuals I encountered.

Also, like most of the marches and protests I’ve seen here in D.C. since the beginning of the year, they appeared to be blaming or focusing on President Trump regardless of what the issue happens to be.  They even have gone so far as to, for their purposes, rename McPherson Square to Impeachment Square.  It seems like it’s never a matter of right verses wrong anymore.  Now it’s almost always right verses left.  I’m glad we live in a country where you’re free to agree with someone or their cause, and still feel disappointed in them.

         

         
[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

UPDATE:  Despite vowing to maintain a permanent protest vigil in Farragut Square Park until at least the end of September, the small group which arrived September 6th and set up tents in the park were gone in only four days.