Biden honors fallen LEOs at National Peace Officers' Memorial Service

"Although I didn't personally know your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, I knew them," he said


By Matthew Medsger
Boston Herald

WASHINGTON — President Biden started his Sunday afternoon doing exactly what Norwood Police Chief William Brooks hopes most people do each year with the coming of National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

“I think people, who think politically about whatever role the police may play, on a day like today I hope they at least have an appreciation or understanding that the individuals who took the job did so because each one of them wanted to be helpful,” Brooks said.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. (Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)

That’s precisely what Biden asked the nation to do from the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., where he was joined by the families of 563 officers who died in the line of duty to mark the annual event commemorating law enforcement officers killed on the job.

Biden said that he didn’t know the fallen, but we all know the kind of people they were.

“Although I didn’t personally know your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, I knew them,” Biden said.

“They were the first ones to run in to help when everyone else ran away … even in grade school, they’d jump in when someone else was being threatened or being bullied, regardless of the odds. Think about it, it was part of their DNA.”

According to Jim Machado, executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association, that’s exactly who police officers are.

“No matter the obstacles, the men and women of law enforcement suit up each day to protect the citizens they took an oath to protect,” he said via email.

Machado was in D.C. for activities surrounding National Police Week, which occurs each year in the week of May around the 15th, which is National Peace Officers Memorial Day, following its passage into law in 1962.

Machado said he attended a candlelight vigil on Friday for the families of over 600 officers whose names were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

“It is important each year to pause, reflect and honor those that are no longer with us and let their loved ones know we mourn with them and salute their sacrifice,” he said.

Brooks said police officers are the kind of people who run in when others run away, a phrase he acknowledged was cliche.

“They all took the job because they were willing to rush to an emergency. I hope people pause for a minute and just think about that,” he said.

Brooks pointed out the officers responding to a mass shooting this weekend in Buffalo, N.Y., were on scene in less than two minutes.

“How many people would rush to go there and engage,” he asked.

Biden also referenced the shooting in Buffalo, expressing his condolences to the families of the victims. He said he didn’t have to explain that sort of loss to any of the families gathered Sunday.

“No one understands this more than people sitting in front of me … about how those folks in Buffalo feel today, when they got the call,” he said.

Last year, 617 officers were killed, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Of those killed, 440 were lost to COVID-19.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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