Never Let Them Walk Alone
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
|Jeremiah Johnson's family finds his name on the wall.|
Ceremonies took place at the 23rd Annual National Police Officers Memorial on May 13-17 for fallen peace officers. Attending from Emery County was the family of Jeremiah Johnson. Jeremiah's father, Randy Johnson said, "The ceremonies were very nice, very touching. Especially the candlelight vigil which was very touching.
"President George Bush was there and he acknowledged the extraordinary sacrifice made by law enforcement officers. He said his thoughts are with the survivors and the families left behind. President Bush stayed a long time shaking hands with many people who had swarmed close to him. It was very nice to listen to the president. Capt. Kyle Ekker from the Emery County Sheriff's Office escorted Betsy and Lisa forward to place a corsage on the memorial wreath in honor of Jeremiah. The fraternal order of police gave a medal of honor to Betsy and Lisa for Jeremiah. Randy commented, "It was touching to see his name on the wall. The kids, Trevor, Noah and Sydney did the etchings of Jeremiah's name from the stone to take home with them. It was neat to see. The programs contained wonderful music. The highlight was seeing everyone light their candles. It was quite a sight involving thousands of people. But it was bittersweet. It was wonderful to see Jeremiah honored. But it seems like just yesterday he was here with us."
"We did enjoy the trip very much. We made a tour of the monuments, the Capitol and visited congressional leaders offices."
"One experience I thought was very thoughtful, while we were there, Rep. Rob Bishop presented us with a video tape and a letter of tribute to Jeremiah which he had read in Congress and is now part of the congressional record. That was really going the extra mile. We were so touched by that act of kindness from Rob Bishop, it was a nice moment."
" The wound is just as fresh as it ever was, but we must live with it."
"They would transport the surviviors on buses and it was a huge procession up the freeway to take the survivors to the memorials. It was rush hour, and 100 plus officers stopped to clear the freeway, blocking onramps, it was something to see. But, they are used to that back there when they stop traffic for the president."
"At the memorial there were two officers standing at full attention and saluting in respect for the fallen officers whose names lie upon the memorial wall. There was a blue laser light shining in front to symbolize the thin blue line between crime, or evil, and good."
"It was nice to have Capt. Ekker and Sgt. Gayle Jensen there, they were in their black dress uniforms. It was so touching to have support from home. It was important to have the officers of Emery County be a part of that honor."
"It was therepeutic and I expect we'll go back some time to a ceremony in the future. All of my grandkids have been back to Washington D.C. and I think it's important for children to know about their history," said Johnson.
Deputy Jeremiah Johnson was added to the memorial wall along with another Utah police officer, David Charles Jones.
Emery County has three peace officers on the wall. Deputy Johnson and also, Deputy Wade Alexander Hansen who died on Sept. 24, 1987 at the age of 26 in an automobile accident on SR-6 near Green River. He left behind his wife Diane and three children, Lacey, Brandon and Ashley.
Sheriff William Levi Black is also on the wall. He died on Aug. 22, 1936. He was shot while on duty.
A total of 362 fallen officers nationwide were added to the memorial at this year's ceremony. On May 15, 1982, 125 people gathered in Senate Park for the First Memorial Service. The Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary pays tribute to the officers who die in the line of duty each year. The first year 91 officers were honored. Over the last 22 years 3,300 officers losing their lives in the line of duty have been honored.
It is the hope and prayer of the police auxiliary that there will come a time when no law enforcement officer is called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. The memorial wall contains the names of 16,666 officers losing their lives in the line of duty.
In addition to the Candlelight Vigil and Memorial Service, classes were held on various topics for survivors dealing with grief and other pertinent topics to their situations, as survivors.