As the sun set over the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, on June 30, a large group from the Fairfax 2015 World Police & Fire Games gathered at the site to honor their fallen comrades with a candlelight Memorial Service.
Bagpipes were played throughout the ceremony that included an invocation by Monsignor Salvatore Criscuolo, of St. Patrick Catholic Church in DC, and a presentation of colors by a combined honor guard from Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue, Police Department and Sheriff’s Office.
Memorial Fund Chief of Staff Herbert V. Giobbi shared welcome remarks, in which he described the bravery of those who choose to be law enforcement officers. He spoke about Lyndhurst (NJ) Police Officer Michael Keane, who was on Amtrak train 188 when it derailed in Philadelphia in May. Officer Keane was heading home after having participated in the Police Unity Tour, as part of the National Police Week festivities in Washington, DC. When the train crashed, Officer Keane’s immediate reaction, after checking on his fiancé, was to start helping the others who had been injured.
Later when Officer Keane was asked why he had jumped into action, he said, “It’s my job. That’s what I’m put on this planet to do.” Mr. Giobbi stressed that officers throughout the country were put on this planet to do just that, to save the lives of others.
FBI Director James Comey Jr. took the stage as the keynote speaker and promised to continue working hard to make sure more officers aren’t killed in the line of duty, and that the names on the walls of the surrounding Memorial would always be remembered.
The lighting of the candles immediately followed led by Fairfax County (VA) Police Department 2nd Lieutenant Bruce Blechl, who helped bring the World Police & Fire Games to Fairfax. He invited survivors of fallen officers from Fairfax County to spread the light through the crowd, as an Air Force bugler played ‘Taps.’
When the ceremony concluded, the athletes were wished well in their continued games, where thousands of professional and public safety athletes from around the world compete in more than 65 sports. The World Police & Fire Games are held every two years, with the 2017 games scheduled for Montreal, Canada.