I had the honor of serving as a law enforcement officer in Oregon for nearly three decades. During my career, thirty-two officers died in the line of duty in Oregon, many of whom I knew personally. Families and communities grieve deeply when one of their own is lost. We are indebted to the men and women who choose to place their lives on the line to provide a safe place for all Oregonians to live.
I am proud to have served with some of the most giving and caring people one could know. Officers who love to serve people, and are willing to run to help someone in need, often placing themselves in danger. I honor, and have the utmost respect for, my friends who continue to serve and provide a better place for us to live.
I don’t have to tell you that there is a lot of discussion throughout our nation today regarding the police profession and how best to serve our communities. We have a lot of work to do to heal our communities.
But today, and this week, I ask you to set aside this time to remember more the than 19,000 men and women, and their families, who have given the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect us.
And if you have an opportunity, thank the men and women of your community who choose to serve and protect you.
Proclamation 3537 - Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week
May 4, 1963
By the President of the United States of America
Whereas, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens; and
Whereas, through constant application of new procedures and techniques, such officers are becoming more efficient in their enforcement of our laws; and
Whereas it is important that our people know and understand the problems, duties, and responsibilities of their police departments and the necessity for cooperating with them in maintaining law and order; and
Whereas it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and well-being of all our people; and
Whereas, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), the Congress has requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week:
Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate May 15, 1963, and May 15 of each succeeding year, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty.
I also designate the week of May 12 through May 18, 1963, and the calendar week during which May 15 occurs of each succeeding year, as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our laws.
I invite State and local governments, patriotic, civic, and educational organizations, and the people of the United States generally, to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in this year and each succeeding year with appropriate ceremonies in which all our people may join in commemorating law enforcement officers, past and present, who by their faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities have rendered a dedicated service to their communities, and, in so doing, have established for themselves an enviable and enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of all citizens.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
By the President:
GEORGE W. BALL,
Acting Secretary of State