SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Dozens of law enforcement officers from across the state gathered in Springfield today to honor the officers who died on duty.
It was a cathartic experience for their families after a year of isolation from COVID.
“The new families can look at returning,” Mary Anne Blair, Secretary of the Illinois Police Officer Memorial Committee said. “When you see somebody and they made it the other side. Life goes on as it should. But life is never the same for the survivors. It’s just great that there’s organizations bring us together to comfort one another.”
The memorial normally happens once a year, but COVID caused last year’s to be cancelled.To make up for it, the Illinois Police Officer Memorial Committee honored the families and officers from the last two years. The Illinois State Police lost several troopers over the last two years. ISP director Brendan Kelly said this event allows the families to be there for each other.
“To be able to see each other, to be able to hug each other and share some memories. And honor the memory of these troopers and honor the sacrifices they made, and be able to recommit to what their lives were sacrificed for is incredibly important right now,” Kelly said.
The organizers were also happy to see the memorial happen this year. The group is made up of former law enforcement and family of officers who were lost.
“It’s always a little emotional for me, because i did look at the families as the names are being read. I see their faces, with the taps, and also with amazing grace,” You can see the emotion in their eyes, in their bodies with when this has been going on,” David Johnson, President of the Illinois Police Officer Memorial Committee, said.