Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony
May 7, 2004
Good afternoon. I am honored and humbled to be here.
Today we gather to honor fallen heroes.
Historian Daniel J. Boorstin observed “the hero reveals the possibilities of human nature.”
The “possibilities of human nature” are so painfully evident in the lives and deaths of those we salute today. They died in the line of duty. Their lives ended as they worked to make sure their fellow citizens’ lives continued safely. The human possibilities they embodied include selflessness and sacrifice, valor and virtue, honor and humility. Love of others. And a willingness to give up life itself to fulfill their solemn duty.
The heroes we honor answered a sacred call of duty, and paid the ultimate price. With love of others in their hearts and courage in their souls, they entered the valley of death. For all of us. We will never forget their sacrifice. And we will be forever grateful for their noble contribution to a better, safer, more humane world.
Today we also offer our heartfelt condolences to all the families, friends and collegues of our fallen heroes. We will always share your loss and your grief. As you accept these medals today on behalf of the heroes we have lost, please also accept our thoughts and prayers. We will never forget these courageous souls.
And now, I would like to read the proclamation honoring today’s recipients of the Medal of Honor.
WHEREAS, law enforcement officers are the first line of defense against crime; and
WHEREAS, law enforcement officers throughout the state conduct themselves in a manner that supports, maintains and defends the constitutions of the state of Washington and the United States; and
WHEREAS, the law enforcement profession has become increasingly more complex, posing greater challenges and requiring officers to serve additional hours of dangerous exposure, above and beyond their regular duties; and
WHEREAS, the events of September 11, 2001, required law enforcement officers to respond to a situation which up until then had been unimaginable; and
WHEREAS, America and the whole world watched as law enforcement professionals reacted without hesitation to that horrifying attack, saving as many lives as possible: and
WHEREAS, numerous law enforcement officers, while performing their duties, have distinguished themselves by gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of their own lives, to save the lives of others, distinguishing themselves with exceptionally meritorious conduct; and
WHEREAS, the protection of our citizens and the fight against crime is a 24 hour endeavor, exposing our law enforcement professionals to serious danger and placing their lives in jeopardy; and
WHEREAS, 274 Washington law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1889; and
WHEREAS, on May 7, 2004, ten law enforcement officers will be awarded the Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, this state’s highest award for law enforcement officers, on behalf of a grateful state, for exceptional service and recognition of the ultimate sacrifice;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, governor of the state of Washington, do hereby proclaim May 9th through 15th, 2004, as Law Enforcement Recognition Week in Washington State, and I urge all citizens to join me in this observance.
Signed this 7th day of May, 2004
Governor Gary Locke