A Day of Differences

Its now Sunday morning in DC and I am leaving the capital today and heading to Cleveland Ohio, some 300+ miles away. I am unlikely to get there until late in the day. I may end up blogging from a McDonalds on the way if they have free WI-Fi!

Yesterday, Saturday, Mike T and I spent some time in DC at the NLEOM chatting to officers and survivors. It was sad and at the same time very heartening to see fellow survivors supporting each other and comforting each other through the grief. We met one particular group of police widows who ranged from a 7 year widow through a 3 year widow to a first year widow, whose husband had ironically been killed cycling! Two of the woman expressed interest in volunteering to help on the PUT next year.

I have to say, I was somewhat humbled to hear them thanking me for my efforts in coming from England to support the PUT and fund raise. To me, I’m just riding my bike and enjoying myself. These people are the ones making all the sacrifices.Ladies, I salute you.

The NLEOM has walls engraved with names of all the US Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty, over 19,000 names so far. There are many tributes posted on the walls in Police Week. The three pictures below show a section of the wall, in different degrees of close up. The first picture probably only shows about 5% of the 2 walls.

SAM_0885SAM_0886SAM_0887

Some of the tributes are heart breaking. We are not just talking about a person killed, but also about those widowed, those who lose their sons and daughters and those who lose their parent or grandparent.

SAM_0874SAM_0875

Tell me that these handwritten messages ( of which I’ve only posted 2 of hundreds there) don’t touch your heart. One can only wonder how the deaths will affect these children in the future.

Amongst the heart ache, there is also a number of heart warming tributes. One officer Louis Villalobos from LAPD is remembered in a great manner. He was killed in a training accident with the SWAT team 6 months before he was due to retire. He like a drink of Tequila with a dash of tabasco sauce – known as prairie fire. So in his memory there was a bottle of tequila , a bottle of tabasco and shot glasses on the wall near his name and everyone was invited to help themselves to a shot. This bottle was regularly replenished and the plastic shot glasses replaced. People stopped and drank a toast to Louie and made new friends. What a great tribute to the memory of a friend.

SAM_0858SAM_0860

At the memorial on Saturday, America’s Most Wanted – a bit like our Crimewatch was being filmed. Craig Floyd the CEO of the NLEOM was being interviewed by the host of AMW. This is a hugely popular programme in the US and its anchor has suffered the heartbreak of having a child murdered whilst hosting the show.

SAM_0873

There are inscriptions on the memorial walls that speak for themselves

SAM_0862SAM_0864SAM_0867

 

In amongst the sadness and grief at the wall there were moments of relief. This particular squirrel liked the wreath it came upon on the wall and was not going to let mourning police officers and survivors put it off.

I paid another visit to the Memorial Shop and to the “Pit” which is a series of stalls selling merchandise surround a bar area that provides entertainment during police week.

I then left Mike & Lisa & her Canadian contingent to take part or watch the Honour Guard and I made my way to watch DC United in the US Major League Soccer. I will be posting a separate blog about that.

I am about to have breakfast then say goodbye to Mike T and Lisa and start on my holiday!

Thanks to everyone who has sponsored me for this ride. Its not too late to sponsor me- either online at www.firstgiving.com/peterbennett or send me a cheque. The funds raised go to a truly worthwhile cause. Thank you once again for supporting this cause.

Advertisements

About spen666

I'm a 40 something football fan and cyclist. I've been a football fanatic most of my life and have completed the 92 football league & premier league grounds Added to this numerous non league grounds, a number abroad and you start to get the picture. I took up cycling in around 2000. Although my father was a former World Vets Champion, I got into cycling accompanying my son to ride in London. This was followed by my commuting to work each day into Central London. Then doing some Sunday rides, then some audax events (www.audax.uk.net) and then a week's cycling holiday in France with a friend. From there, I got more and more into cycling and in 2009 completed LEJoG and in 2010 rode in the USA with the Police Unity Tour. I completed blogs for those events at www.aminearlythere.blogspot.com and www.bothesidesofthepond.blogspot.com Feel free to read them and learn more about me. I live alone which suits me as it gives me time at weekends to pursue my interests of cycling and football. (Well what did you expect me to say? That I'm sad at being single?) I'm currently looking for my next challenge. Any suggestions gratefully received.
This entry was posted in Police Unity Tour. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s