Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 15, 2024
Illinois Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Fallen Peace Officers on Memorial DaySource: Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a solemn gesture of respect, flags across Illinois stand at half-staff today to commemorate Peace Officers Memorial Day, honoring the law enforcement officers who have fallen or been disabled in the line of duty. The tribute follows federal law, recognizing the sacrifices made by local, state, and federal peace officers on this day annually observed every May 15, as established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, according to NBC Chicago.

With the day's gravity underscored by the heartrending statistic of 60 law enforcement officers killed on the job last year, and an additional 19 fallen officers reported so far this year, the lowered flags serve as a visual reminder of their service, the distressing figures were reported by the FBI as they paid their tributes along with the nation. "Police Week gives us an important opportunity to recognize and thank those heroes who walk among us—the men and women of courage and character who think of others before themselves, no matter the cost," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement obtained by NBC Chicago.

Flags will continue to fly at the solemn position from sunrise to sunset as dictated by the office of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. This year's observance takes place amid ongoing national conversations about law enforcement's role in society, paying homage not just to the ultimate sacrifices, but also to the day-to-day courage displayed by officers on the streets.

President Joe Biden, in a statement reinforcing the importance of the day, mentioned "We recognize the incredible courage of our Nation's police officers and honor the fallen heroes, whose ultimate sacrifice we can never repay," a sentiment captured by CBS News. This nationwide expression of respect ensures that as the sun dips below the horizon on this evening in Illinois, in remembrance of those who've served and exerted their bravery residents across the state will pause and reflect even just for a moment, in the noble shadow cast by the half-mast flags.