Today, President Obama spoke at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the previous year.
The President said that the 143 officers honored today “exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others.”
They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live.
We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families, but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory.
Like the police officers and first responders around the country whose mission never stops, “those of us who you protect should never let slide our gratitude either,” President Obama said.
We should not pause and remember to thank first responders and police officers only in the wake of tragedy. We should do it every day.
And those of us who have the privilege to lead should all strive to support you better -- whether it’s making sure police departments and first responders have the resources they need to do their jobs, or the reforms that are required to protect more of our officers and their families from the senseless epidemics of violence that all too often wrack our cities and haunt our neighborhoods.