It will be a time to honor heroes on Thursday.
It will be a time to remember their sacrifice.
The 25nd annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will start at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 6 on the Capitol Grounds.
Three Nevada heroes whose watches ended during 2020 will be honored in this year’s ceremony.
Sgt. Ben Jenkins of the Nevada Highway Patrol was killed by a motorist he was assisting on March 27, 2020. This occurred near Ely on U.S. 93.
A native of Elko, he had been with the NHP since 2008.
Also to be honored this year are Lt. Erik Lloyd of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Bailiff Gerald Smith of the Pahrump Justice Court, who both died from COVID-19 complications.
The names of 140 Nevada law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty since 1861 – heroes all – appear on the memorial. The first officer killed in the line of duty was Carson County (then Nevada Territory) Sheriff John L. Blackburn who was killed while making an arrest.
They will be honored by other heroes – members of honor guards and other representatives of law enforcement agencies from around the state. Many of their agencies are represented on the roll call of Memorial.
The ceremony, rich in tradition and meaning, includes playing of bagpipes, prayers, speeches, reverent music, a rider less horse, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of taps.
Gov. Steve Sisolak will be the featured speaker.
All of the events will help us to remember the individuals and their stories, their bravery, their sacrifice, and their role in helping us live in freedom and safety. This should be remembered. This needs to be remembered.
Each of the officers on the memorial has a unique story about their life and the cause of their death. Gunshot wounds were responsible for the deaths of 68 officers. One died from an accidental gunshot, and the rest were killed as a result of actions taken by the suspects they were dealing with.
Among the others, three were stabbed to death and nine died from beatings at the hands of offenders.
The stories of many of those on the Memorial are described in the book “Nevada’s Fallen Peace Officers” which is available in the gift shop inside the Legislative Building.
There are some common attributes:
People who took on oath to protect and to serve, and took that oath seriously.
People who wouldn’t consider themselves heroes, just ordinary folk responding to extraordinary circumstances.
People who went toward danger rather than away from it.
People who lost their lives while serving and protecting their communities.
A walk around the Capitol Grounds provides glimpses of other heroes as well. The Nevada State Veterans’ Memorial is located near the entrance to the Nevada State Library. There is a Memory Wall and a memorial to the USS Nevada (BB-36) which was beached during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Thursday, you will be able to see the names of heroes on the Memorial. You will be able to thank the living heroes by attending the service on Thursday and thanking those in uniform there for helping make our communities safer.
And take a walk around the Capitol Grounds. Take the opportunity to remember those who have sacrificed their lives to provide the freedom and the safety that we enjoy today.
There are heroes among us. They have earned our respect. They deserve our thanks. They deserve to be honored. And they deserve to be remembered. So remember that the memorial is on Thursday.
The Rev. Canon Richard Snyder is an Episcopal priest who serves as chaplain for the Nevada Law Enforcement Memorial Association. He is a retired institutional chaplain for the Nevada Department of Corrections.