A day is just a day, but some days, and most days today, are special days.
Some of those days are kind of fun days, like Jan. 5 is National Spaghetti Day and Feb. 3 is National Gum Day — like chewing gum, not the gum that holds our teeth. Some days are more serious, like Sep. 16 is National Working Parents Day and Feb. 4 is World Cancer Day.
In Utah, July 12, or National Eat Your Jello Day, and July 16, which is National Ice Cream Day, should be well known.
Monday, May 15, this week came and went with little fanfare, it was National Peace Officers Memorial Day. It was proclaimed as such in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. A joint resolution of Congress in 1962 established the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week.
On National Peace Officers Memorial Day, we remember the sacrifice of law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty while protecting their communities.
The Utah Law Enforcement Memorial sits on the west lawn of the state capitol. It honors the 147 who were killed in the line of duty. Each year on the first Thursday in May, which was May 4 in 2023, the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Board hosts an annual service to honor all Utah peace officers who were killed in the line of duty. Among those so honored are four officers who lost their lives in service to the citizens of Tooele County.
Sgt. Lauren Dow, of the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office and Danny James, a Tooele City Animal Control Officer, lost their lives on Aug. 26, 1975 while fighting a wildfire near Stockton.
Officer Festus Sprague, of the Grantsville Police Department, died on May 3, 1870 in a gun battle with a homicide suspect. U.S. Marshal William R. Story was shot and killed in Grantsville on May 2, 1870 while attempting to arrest a murder suspect.
In reference to National Peace Officers Memorial Day we extend our appreciation to the families of these four men and vow that three names and deeds should never be forgotten. But indeed as Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, ”That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”
While National Police Week continues to run its course this week, let us not forget to thank all officers for their service.
We said it last year and we will repeat it again this year. Next time you see a law enforcement officer, whether they be on duty at a public event, eating a hamburger at a local restaurant, sitting in a public meeting, or anywhere else, just say “thank you.” Two words that take two seconds. We should use them more often.
And you don’t have to wait for National Police Week to do it.