31st Fallen Heroes Day to honor po­lice/fire­fight­ers killed in the line of duty

The Enquire-Gazette - - News -

On Fri­day, May 6, hun­dreds of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and fire­fight­ers, dig­ni­taries and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, fam­ily, and friends will gather at Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens for the 31st An­nual Fallen Heroes Day, a day set-aside to honor and re­mem­ber those who died in the line of duty. The 1 p.m. cer­e­mony, which hon­ors those whose deaths have been de­clared “line of duty” dur­ing the past year, is the only statewide cer­e­mony in the na­tion that brings to­gether all seg­ments of the pub­lic safety com­mu­nity. Fallen Heroes Day salutes po­lice and cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers, and emer­gency med­i­cal and res­cue per­son­nel who risk their lives ev­ery day to pro­tect the citizens of Mary­land.

Since the 2015 Fallen Heroes Day cer­e­mony, four po­lice of­fi­cers have died in the line of duty. They are:

• Po­lice Of­fi­cer III Noah Leotta, Mont­gomery County Po­lice De­part­ment, Dec. 10, 2015

• Se­nior Deputy Pa­trick Dai­ley, Har­ford County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Feb. 10, 2016

• Deputy First Class Mark Logs­don, Har­ford County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Feb. 10, 2016

• De­tec­tive Ja­cai Col­son, Prince Ge­orge’s County Po­lice De­part­ment, March 13, 2016

The 31st An­nual Fallen Heroes Day cer­e­mony will be­gin with a pro­ces­sion of more than 25 honor guard units from across the state, po­lice mo­tor­cy­cle and mounted units, bag­pipers and drum­mers. Bal­ti­more Sun writer Fred Ras­mussen will be the key­note speaker and Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz will give a me­mo­rial ad­dress. Rachel Barr, the daugh­ter-in-law of 2014 Fallen Hero Fire Po­lice Cap­tain David Barr Jr. of the Com­mu­nity Fire Com­pany of Per­ryville, will speak as a sur­vivor. Har­ford County Ex­ec­u­tive Barry Glass­man and Mont­gomery County Ex­ec­u­tive Ike Leggett will also par­tic­i­pate in the cer­e­mony. Tele­vi­sion news an­chor and ra­dio host Mary Beth Mars­den will serve as the em­cee.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, af­ter each 2016 fallen hero is re­mem­bered, his fam­ily will be pre­sented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Me­mo­rial and a res­o­lu­tion from the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly. Ad­di­tion­ally, one po­lice of­fi­cer and one fire­fighter who died in the line of duty be­fore Fallen Heroes Day was es­tab­lished in 1986, will be re­mem­bered and their fam­ily will be pre­sented with a Gov­er­nor’s Procla­ma­tion.

“For more than 30 years, Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens has honored Mary­land’s fallen heroes — pub­lic ser­vants who have given their lives in the line of duty,” said John O. Mitchell, III, Chair­man of Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens, in a press re­lease. “Fallen Heroes Day pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for the citizens of Mary­land to take time to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­spect for the men and women who risk their lives each day when they re­port to work.”

Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens was es­tab­lished in 1958 by John Ar­miger, Sr. In 1976 he set aside 330 burial spa­ces for fallen heroes and their spouses. Ten years later, John Ar­miger, Jr. es­tab­lished the tra­di­tion of Fallen Heroes Day. The 70-acre ceme­tery was pur­chased by John O. Mitchell, III of the fam­ily-owned Mitchell-Wiede­feld Fu­neral Home in Rodgers Forge/ Tow­son in 2007. The Mitchell fam­ily is proud to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of Fallen Heroes Day. Cur­rently, 69 mem­bers of the pub­lic safety com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing Har­ford County Deputy Mark Logs­don, are buried at the Fallen Heroes Me­mo­rial.

Keep­ing with tra­di­tion, Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) has is­sued a procla­ma­tion declar­ing May 6, 2016, as Fallen Heroes Day in Mary­land and has or­dered flags flown at half-staff at the State House and all state fa­cil­i­ties.

The Fallen Heroes Me­mo­rial is lo­cated within Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens, 200 East Pado­nia Road, Ti­mo­nium.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BILL MCALLEN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

A pro­ces­sion of po­lice and fire­fight­ers from around the state at the 2014 Fallen Heroes Day at Du­laney Val­ley Me­mo­rial Gar­dens. This years re­mem­brance event will be May 6.

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