In 1998 the Canadian Government officially proclaimed the last Sunday of September of every year as Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day and, in 2003, Canadian Heritage declared a nation-wide flag half-masting on all federal buildings and establishments in Canada, including the Peace Tower, from sunrise to sunset in honour of fallen officers.
These official proclamations are a fitting sign of respect, not only to those who gathereach year on Parliament Hill in Ottawar, but also for those who made the ultimate tragic sacrifice to keep communities safe and protected.
Unfortunately, according to police, comrades are falling at an alarming rate of three to five officers per year. In 1978, the first Memorial honoured 14 officers. In 2018, the names of over 865 fallen officers are engraved on the Honour Roll tablets.
This year, as he does every year, Saugeen Shores Police Constable (retired) Doug Lein attends the ceremony in Ottawa. “It’s a very emotional ceremony and is very moving,” says Lein, “and I try not to miss it. It’s a matter of paying respect.”