By the President of the United States of America
This week a grateful Nation pauses to honor the more than half a million dedicated law enforcement officers across our country who put their lives on the line each day to protect us. These courageous and dedicated men and women daily wage the timeless battle for right over wrong, peace over conflict, and the rule of law over anarchy.
We ask a great deal of our Federal, State, and local police officers. We ask them to stand between us and the forces of violence and chaos. We ask them to protect our homes and property and to save our lives at the risk of their own. We ask them to patrol our highways and our borders, to keep our children safe from drug dealers and gang leaders, and to bring to justice the murderers, terrorists, rapists, and other criminals who prey on our society. We lean heavily on this thin blue line, and it never breaks.
Last year, in carrying out their awesome responsibilities, 158 law enforcement officers lost their lives-and the lives of their families and friends were changed forever. After several years of decreased violence against our law enforcement community, we face the sobering reality that police officer fatalities rose 27 percent during 1997.
As we honor these heroes-those who still live and work among us, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our well-being-let us reaffirm our efforts to end the violence that has taken such a heavy toll on our Nation's law enforcement community. Let us work to ensure that America's police officers have the training, resources, manpower, and community support they need to carry out the crucial responsibilities with which we charge them. In this way we can best honor the service and sacrifice of the thousands of fallen police officers whose memory we honor and whose devotion to duty has earned our respect and lasting gratitude.
By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), the Congress has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day" and the week in which it falls as "Police Week," and, by Public Law 103-322 (36 U.S.C. 175), has directed that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 1998, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 10 through May 16, 1998, as Police Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe these occasions with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities. I also request the Governors of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also invite all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., May 14, 1998]