When area law enforcement, firefighters and citizens came together Wednesday to memorialize fallen peace officers, there was a new turf of peace from which to stand between Bartlesville Police Headquarters and Central Fire Station in downtown.
A large granite memorial, surrounded by a small garden area, is located between the two buildings and commemorates the 11 firefighters and peace officers form Washington County who have died since 1907. Bartlesville Police Chief Tracy Roles welcomed guests to the ceremony followed by prayer.
“What a wonderful site this is to memorialize those firefighters and peace officers who have lost their lives serving Washington County. We want to sincerely thank everyone involved with making this memorial site a reality,” Roles said during his remarks.
“As we gather here today to honor those who lived their lives so that others could live beneath a blanket of protection, let us not forget their selfless sacrifices. Let us not forget their service to our communities and to our great nation.”
Names of the fallen officers are engraved in the stone, starting with the first in 1907 and the last in 2008.
Roles continued to say in his speech that, “However, without hesitation or thought, they stared down the very evil that wished to bring harm to our society.
“They fought the good fight until it was time for them to leave this earth. President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.’
“Now we all must carry on their legacy. We must carry the torch that has been ignited by the good.”
Washington County District Judge Linda Thomas also spoke, sharing thoughts about the danger the peace officers and firefighters face every day in the line of duty.
“We ask so much of our peace officers and firefighters. We must all share in the responsibility as a community,” she said.
She added that everyone should work together in maintaining a safer community.
“Saying thank you is not enough for what you do.”
The ceremony, which is held annually, was completed with the playing of “Taps” by a member of the Bartlesville Police Honor Guard, a 21-gun salute by the joint members of the Bartlesville Police and Washington County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, and “Amazing Grace” by the Tulsa Police Pipes and Drums Corps.