Salinans gathered on a beautiful Spring morning Wednesday to honor and remember local police, sheriff, and highway patrol officers who have died in the line of duty. A Peace Officer Memorial Day event was held at Jerry Ivey Park.
A crowd that included law enforcement and their family and friends, firefighters, and citizens gathered to honor, and pay respect to local officers who have died in the line of duty. The event was also about thanking current law enforcement for what they do on a daily basis.
The ceremony featured a roll call of the Salina Police Officers, Kansas State Troopers, and the sheriff killed in the line of duty in Saline County. It also included speakers, the playing of “Taps”, the playing of “Amazing Grace”, and a 21 gun salute.
Salina Mayor Karl Ryan, who helped with the funeral services of the last police officer killed in Salina, was among those who spoke. He thanked all officers for “sharing a commitment larger than themselves.”
Ryan said that officers are instrumental in our lives everyday. “Our entire way of life depends on the rule of law,” he said.
The Mayor said “there is no greater honor than to bear the loss of a friend, a colleague or a loved one in service of our city .” He concluded “my faith tells me that they did not die in vain.
The ceremony this year had a new element, a fallen first responder table setting. It was a dining table set up to honor fallen officers. It included:
- A square table, representing the many facets of our first responders: father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter and citizen hero.
- A white tablecloth symbolizing the purity of their motives.
- A red rose represents our love for our fallen comrades.
- A blue ribbon represents our trust in and loyalty to our comrades present today.
- A Bible opened to Psalm 91.
- A slice of lemon to remind of the bitter taste after losing a comrade or loved one.
The event Wednesday morning in Salina was part of National Police Week, and Peace Officer Memorial Day.
Peace Officer Memorial Day events in Salina are traditionally held in Jerry Ivey Park. The park is named in honor of the last Salina Police Officer killed in the line of duty. Jerry Ivey was killed on June 13th, 1975, during an exchange of gunfire with a robbery suspect.
National Peace Officers Memorial Day was established in 1961 to recognize local, state, and federal law enforcement and peace officials.
(click photos to enlarge)