In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week that it falls in as National Police Week. In coordination with this proclamation, Fort Smith National Historic Site is honoring fallen officers on Saturday May 21st. Throughout the day, memorial markers will be on the parade grounds honoring each of the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty between 1872 and 1896 while serving the Fort Smith District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. This stirring program gives everyone an opportunity to honor all officers in the United States who in the words of President Kennedy, are "the men and women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our laws". The ceremony starts with a welcome by Park Superintendent Lisa Conard-Frost, a short speech by U. S. Marshal Harold Oglesby and followed by a roll call of officers who died while serving their communities in the local area. Law enforcement officers are invited to come and be part of the roll call by reading names of those who have died in the line of duty from their departments. The program will finish with a flag ceremony led by the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, a 21-gun salute, and taps by the Fort Smith Police Department Honor Guard. The ceremony closes with Amazing Grace played on bagpipes by the Fort Smith Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corps and Park Ranger Jeremy Lynch. Admission is free.
Fort Smith National Historic Site is located in downtown Fort Smith along the Arkansas River. To access the parking lot from Garrison or Rogers Avenue, turn south on 4th Street and right on Garland Avenue. For more information about the program, please call Fort Smith National Historic Site at 479-783-3961.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.