Despite a persistent rainfall that curtailed some of the activities associated with the annual wreath-laying ceremony, the solemn event went on as scheduled on April 30 and drew about 175 participants to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Clutching umbrellas, wearing slickers and standing throughout, the crowd braved the soggy skies to pay their respects to fallen comrades at the annual event ushering in Correctional Employees Week, this year May 1-7. Some said they felt the rainfall made the observance even more meaningful.
The sponsor of the event, the Correctional Chiefs Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, was able to modify the ceremony so that the spirit of the day was not lost. Maj. James Whitley, commander of the correctional facility in Fairfax County, Va., and master of ceremonies, welcomed the crowd and promised brief speeches but no shortening of the observance. David Robertson, executive director of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, also gave a brief welcome and thanked the audience for coming.
Keynote speaker Thomas N. Faust, executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association and former sheriff of Arlington County, Va., revealed plans to erect a 90,000-square-foot National Law Enforcement Museum across the street from the memorial by 2009. The museum, he said, will be the first in the world dedicated solely to honoring law enforcement and correctional officers. In addition to exhibits, it will offer a forum for discussions on current and emerging issues.
"It is an honor to be here today," he said, "and it is an honor to have the opportunity to thank each officer, each deputy here today for your service and also to thank the families for your support and your understanding of their difficult work day in and day out." Faust continued saying: "Even as we honor the slain officers, we must also look to the future and demand the...