Defenders remember the 15th of May
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As the first note of taps rang, the 8th Security Forces Squadron joined thousands of law enforcement officers around the U.S. recognizing fallen comrades during Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15, 2014 at Kunsan.
President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation in 1962 that established May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it fell on as Police Week. The Wolf Pack honored 22 fallen defenders, office of special investigation agents and military working dogs during a memorial ceremony May 15.
"We gathered today to honor both our fallen comrades and the ones who still serve today with valor and distinction," said Senior Airman Sarah Kilgore, 8th SFS event master of ceremonies and coordinator.
Chief Master Sgt. Samel Brown, 8th SFS manager, stood at attention as the names of each fallen defender was read. It eventually came to one name: Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton. In 2006, a roadside bomb killed Norton in Iraq. Brown and Norton trained, fought and conquered together.
"He is always with me, as I put on this beret and I wear the uniform that I do," said Brown. "I do it proudly because of folks like him. Airmen like him, who have gave their life in defense of our nation and the freedoms that we enjoy today."
While the ceremony remembered 22 fallen defenders, the Wolf Pack followed the tone set by the proclamation recognizing not only those who passed away but also those who are serving.
"So today's retreat ceremony always rings home with me, every single year, but today was especially special because here in Kunsan everybody is deployed away from their families," said Brown. "It's extremely important because on a day-to-day basis we don't know when we may have to lay our lives down on the line in defense of our nation and our (Republic of Korea) counterparts."
According to Kilgore, the right to serve and protect comes with a great price - that price was honored throughout the nation May 12 to 16.