Remembering those who gave their lives for us

Monday, May 13, 2013

McCook has a special honor this week with the arrival of the American Veterans Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., which will open to the public at noon Thursday at Weiland Field in McCook.

It will be an especially poignant experience for those who lost friends and loved ones in Vietnam, and for those who remember the tumult that conflict brought to the United States.

A week later, we hope many of our readers travel to the closest Memorial Day services to pay tribute to those who died defending our country in all wars. It's always an emotional experience at Memorial Park Cemetery, we know, punctuated by the volley of rifles and the playing of taps.

We think there's room for one more memorial service in our area like one conducted this morning at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of Fonner Park in Grand Island.

"We are honored to be able to recognize the courage and dignity with which these officers served and to say thank you to their families," said Col. David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. "This is also an opportunity to renew our dedication to public service as we vow to never forget the ultimate sacrifice paid by our fellow officers."

The sacrifice and danger are real.

Officers were involved with a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect firing many times at Nebraska State Patrol officers before he was finally fatally wounded.

No officers were injured in Friday's event, but it doesn't always turn out that way.

Nebraska has had 104 officers killed in the line of duty, including 69 by gunfire, one accidental shooting, one each by assault, a bomb, an explosion, one hit by a train and one in a vehicle pursuit; six die from heart attacks, four in motorcycle accidents, four stabbed, three struck by a vehicle and three by vehicular assault.

The Nebraska State Patrol has had 11 officers die in the line of duty, and the Frontier and Hitchcock county sheriff's offices have lost one each.

It's appropriate that we remember members of the military who have sacrificed so much, and that's what we do on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

But let's take time to honor those other people in uniform, law enforcement officers, who sacrifice so much as well.

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