Peace Officers Memorial Day Is May 15 In South Dakota
If you see flags in the Sioux Empire at half-staff on Saturday, May 15, it's most likely in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. This day is set aside to honor those officers that have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities in South Dakota and around the country.
The holiday is part of the larger National Police Week that occurs each year from May 9 through the 15th. The epicenter of events occurs at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall in Washington, DC. The names of more than 21,000 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty are displayed on the memorial's walls.
Traditionally, events during the week include the Blue Mass, Candlelight Vigil, Wreath Laying Ceremony, National Police Survivors Conference, and Honor Guard Competition. However, due to COVID, National Police Week is virtual this year. In-person events planned for the week of October 13 through 17 in Washington, DC.
A virtual Candlelight Vigil is scheduled for Thursday, May 13 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Peace Officers Memorial Day was signed into law io October 1, 1962 by John F. Kennedy. After signing the bill, Kennedy said:
To pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day," and the week in which it falls as "National Police Week" and by Public Law 103-322 has requested that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers' Memorial Day.