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Officers Lost in the Line of Duty Honored at Gary Police Memorial

By Barbara Burdette, State Commander of The American Legion
GARY, WV – We recognize and frequently watch movies about super stars, the Avenger or Defenders. Hollywood movie stars or DC comic heroes, avengers, or defenders aren’t real. Superman doesn’t exist. They aren’t real but we are tantalized and excited by their physical actions and supernatural talents and activities.
But they are not real; they only play a part in a movie which also is not real with paid stunt performers and special effects to help them preform their unbelievable feats of action. What is real, is the day to day activities our first line responders: local Police, State police, our County police. Men and women in uniform that are aware full-blown action may be required while dealing with drug dealers, thieves, murders or any number of criminal activities.
On Saturday May 16, 2020 at Gary West Virginia, the first and only Police Memorial was dedicative. The crowd was small, which was very appropriate for the situation we must live with today requiring social distancing, but the enthusiasm for the event was overwhelming and inspiring.
Gary Police Chief Pat McKinney enlightened the audience about the triangle staged setting with the American Flag, the West Virginia Flag and the Policeman’s flag waving in the comfortable breeze.
These three flags were set on concrete triangle stage with a locally donated name plate adorning the setting.
The Memorial was to commemorate and remember the lives of those members of the Police Force from the Southern West Virginia area that had lost their lives while performing their duty. While flags were at half-staff, local pastor Vergil Green provided a moving and fitting prayer for all fallen Policemen and for their future protection always. Among those in the audience was one State Police officer who had previously been engaged in gun fire while he was on duty which demonstrates how each day could be met with tragic danger.
This whole week has been dedicated to the National Police Week. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Then in 1982 the event was known as National Police Week.
Among those attending this event was Ed Evans, House of Delegates for the McDowell County area, Larry Harrison, mayor of Gary, West Virginia, Barbara Burdette State Commander of the American Legion, Roger Miller Commander of the local American Legion Post 38, Frank Cooley WV Department Assistant National Executive Committee representative for the American Legion and several dignitaries running for different political offices.
This event will become a yearly activity for the city of Gary, West Virginia.