Blog Team member Shannon Anderson shares her first-hand account of the annual Peace Officer's Memorial Candlelight Vigil. Shannon is a research analyst in OCSD's SAFE division.
On the evening of Tuesday, May 28, members of Orange County’s law enforcement community gathered at the Orange County Regional Training Academy in Tustin for a vigil at the new Peace Officers’ Memorial. Remembering those law enforcement officers who have fallen while serving the people of Orange County is an annual event but this year was distinct, held at the new site of the redesigned memorial. Those who attended the vigil on May 28th could not help but be moved by the memorial’s meaning. As the sun set behind the backdrop of the monument – a curved mural that depicted the history of law enforcement in Orange County, the last rays of the day’s light silhouetted the heads and shoulders of the monument’s peace officer statues, and the 53 plaques bearing the names of fallen officers hung from the memorial as silent testament to the depth of commitment these officers had to the people of Orange County – that they gave their lives in service to protecting others and upholding the law. Family members of fallen officers wore shirts imprinted with the photos, names, ranks, and dates of birth and death of their departed loved ones, reminding all those in attendance that the sacrifice these officers gave was not a one-time event but that those they leave behind daily grapple with the consequences of that sacrifice. Law enforcement officers who had undertaken a memorial bike ride all the way from Sacramento silently approached the memorial and placed red carnations around its fountain in remembrance. As attendees lit their candles in vigil to the fallen officers, a new feature of this memorial was displayed: a thin blue line, generated by a laser, shone from the back of the memorial outward into infinity, a reminder that the rule of law is only upheld by a thin blue line – the men and women who are willing to step into harm’s way in order to enforce the law in the protection of others.
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