Richard Snyder: Always time to remember our heroes
We are asked to remember.
Remember the sacrifice.
Remember the heroes.
It’s not just so we won’t forget them. It’s because in remembering them, we’ll have an opportunity to honor heroes on Thursday.
The 22nd annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will start at 1 p.m. on Thursday on the Capitol Grounds.
The names of 134 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.
Two new names are being added this year. Officer Kyle Lawrence Eng of the Las Vegas Department of Public Safety Division of Corrections suffered a fatal heart attack on July 19, 2018 shortly after struggling with an inmate in the Las Vegas Detention Center.
The second is Park Ranger James P. Fleetwood of the National Park Service, who died on July 5, 1977 when his vehicle was struck head-on by a drunk driver while en route to a parade detail in Searchlight.
They’ll 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.
On Thursday, the ceremony will consist of the culmination of an Olympic-type run by law enforcement officers who start in Las Vegas and run to Carson City, where the run ends at the memorial observance.
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.
The officers on the memorial have 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 gun shot, 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’s a Memory Wall and a memorial to the USS Nevada (BB-36) which was beached during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
On Thursday, you’ll be able to see the names of heroes on the Memorial. You’ll 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 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 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 also an institutional chaplain for the Nevada Department of Corrections.