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97th SFS at Altus AFB honors ‘thin blue line’ during Police Week

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.​ -- From May 10 - 16, 2020, 97th Security Forces Squadron defenders will celebrate Police Week with a ruck march and a retreat ceremony here.

According to www.policeweek.org, the event began In 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Decades later, it has grown into a series of events that attract thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to the nation's capital each year.

“Every day, law enforcement officers, both military and civilian, put on their uniform to serve and protect,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Nathaniel Lesher, the 97th SFS commander. “Police week honors our brothers and sisters who, in the past year, have paid the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty. It is our opportunity to celebrate their efforts and remember their sacrifices by speaking their names.”

In addition to the common expectations that come with being an Airman, SFS defenders also bear the responsibility of being law enforcement.

“The standards we are held to are what set us apart from our fellow Airmen,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Horton, a base defense operation center controller assigned to the 97th SFS. “As base defenders, we cannot blatantly ignore the rules we have to enforce. In order to enforce standards, we have to hold them above anything else.”

This week, for Lesher and many others, is a time to reflect on their profession, heritage, and traditions.

“At any point, any one of us could be called on to lay our lives down in the protection of the innocent,” said Lesher. “Let us celebrate our brothers and sisters who have set this example and have gone before us. Let us focus on growth and excellence in our craft so that when our day comes to face the wolf, we are ready and capable to meet and defeat it.”

According to Lesher, as law enforcement officers, they are called to stabilize society in times of disorder. Law enforcement usually uses the “thin blue line.” This symbolizes the men and women that form a barrier between society from chaos.

“Although this Police Week we will not be able to have all of the normal events, we will be honoring each one of our fallen brothers and sisters through a ruck,” said Lesher. “Members of the wing as well as local law enforcement will have the opportunity to come to the track and ruck a lap for each fallen officer from 2019 and 2020. Although this is not enough, it will be an intentional event where we can say the name of each fallen officer and reflect as we carry a ruck that symbolizes the weight of responsibility that each of these members chose to undertake.”

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