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97 SFS Kicks Off Police Week with Memorial Ceremony

two men salute

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron salute the American flag for reveille during Police Week, May 13, 2019, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth)

two men salute

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron salute and change watch over a memorial to honor fallen service members, May 13, 2019, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Members of the 97th SFS watched over the memorial from the beginning to the end of the duty day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth)

two men salute

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron salute a memorial for fallen law enforcement officers during Police Week, May 13, 2019, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 97th SFS invited civilian law enforcement officers to participate in police week events on base to showcase their teamwork and camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth)

two men salute

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron prepare to raise the American flag for reveille, May 13, 2019, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 97th SFS then set up a memorial with the words “honor the fallen” written on it to honor both civilian and military law enforcement officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The 97th Security Forces Squadron began their observance of Police Week with a memorial at the Wings of Freedom Park May 13, 2019 at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, furthermore designating the week as Police Week.

The 97th SFS gathered and raised the flag for reveille which was followed by a memorial wreath with a banner reading “Honor the Fallen.” This was to recognize both civilian and military law enforcement officers who passed away.

“We have a national police week memorial that’s being guarded all day today,” said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Burleson, the superintendent of the 97th SFS. “It’s to honor civilian law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate price as well as our own defenders who have passed away in the line of duty. During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, we’ve had 13 Security Forces members pass.”

Burleson was the first member of the 97th SFS to take control of the post.

“As the senior enlisted, I get to start and finish the memorial,” said Burleson. “Knowing what it means and what it stands for, it’s the highest honor for me to be able to do this.”

The local police departments were also invited to participate in Police Week events on base in order to emphasize teamwork and camaraderie between the military and civilian law enforcement offices.

“The teamwork that we have already is outstanding,” said Burleson. “If we ever had an incident or if they did, we can work together and handle anything that happens in Jackson County. These events and memorials just show how close we are and how unified we are over that thin blue line.”

This memorial is the beginning of Police Week. Over the course of the week, members of the community and base will be given opportunities to see how law enforcement accomplishes their tasks of keeping the community safe while also acknowledging their history.

“We’re all police,” said Burleson. “This is a time for us to remember our past, remember our fallen and remember where we came from. We can take a knee and bow our heads, then stand up and go out and do our jobs protecting and serving.”