In the last 10 years, more than 1,600 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Just a few months into this year, 37 more officers have already made this ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities. These men and women will be honored by their friends, family and communities as National Police Week approaches.

The annual Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the Police Memorial, located at the Cuyahoga Falls Civic Center Campus, 2310 2nd St. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Robert Kent, president and CEO of Western Reserve Hospital.

“We are thankful for the continued support of Dr. Kent and Western Reserve Hospital to our community and our safety forces,” said Steve Amos, chairman of the Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial and Honor Guard Foundation.

This year, four names will be inscribed on the memorial wall, including Charles E. Metzner (1932-2018) who served the city of Cuyahoga Falls for 36 years, from 1958 to 1994, according to Amos.

Through historical research by the foundation, three additional names will be engraved that meet modern day memorial foundation guidelines:

• Wester J. Watson, who served the city of Cuyahoga Falls for 23 years, from 1920 to 1943;

• Stanley S. Falcon, who served the city of Cuyahoga Falls for 18 years, from 1941 to 1959; and

• Frank Gravatt, who served the city of Cuyahoga Falls for 17 years, from 1929 to 1946.

“I am proud of the dedication and professionalism of the men and women who serve and protect our community,” said Mayor Don Walters. “We thank them for their commitment to keeping us safe from harm.”

The Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial and Honor Guard Foundation is asking the public to show their support for their local law enforcement officers by displaying black and blue ribbons, turning on a blue porch light or flying a police memorial flag during the week.

Blue lights are available at Cuyahoga Falls City Hall with a suggested donation of $5 to the Justin Winebrenner Fund. Memorial flags may be purchased from Falls Flag and Banner, with donations from each sale going to the Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial and Honor Guard Foundation.

With the support of city officials from both Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake, more than 200 police memorial flags and banners will fly over city streets and other public buildings. Schools, businesses and private residents will also be flying the flag.

“The blue and black flags have a blue stripe in the middle and black on each other side of it. The blue line represents how the police protect and separate the two masses. The two black sides represent good and evil, and how the blue line keeps the evil away from the good,” Amos said.

The foundation believes this may be one of the largest police memorial flag displays in the country.

The families of the honored officers will be given an engraved plaque and police memorial flag.

The ceremony will include an accompaniment with Rick Schwenning on the bagpipes and Rich Schwenning on the drums. This is in addition to other musical performances such as the Woodridge Rhapsody Choir, a Cuyahoga Falls police officer performing the national anthem, and Mike McClain playing Taps.

Also, a “riderless horse” will cross the memorial as it “symbolizes someone has passed away,” Amos said.

Amos also expressed his gratitude to the sponsors of this event: A&C Welding, Giant Eagle Market District, Western Reserve Hospital, The Jacob & Clara Faber Foundation, Private Label Beverages, Summit Memorial and Kim Hoover.

Kent said he was “extremely honored and humbled to be asked to keynote this important event, and [hopes] to make an impact with my message of support.

“It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that the brave service of our police officers is often challenged publicly, and dishonorably,” he added. “If everyone in attendance finds some way to actively and publicly support the police in our communities, we may help to develop a more positive environment for our law enforcement officers to do their important work.”

Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis will also speak.

“I will be sure to touch on the support and sacrifice that police officers make every day,” he said.

In August 2012, the police memorial was dedicated in the city of Cuyahoga Falls to honor the men and women of the Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Departments. Each year, during National Police Week, a service is held to remember and honor fallen officers. The 2019 National Police Week will be observed beginning Sunday, May 12, and will run through Saturday, May 18.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. Every year, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from all over the country come together to remember and honor those officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

It is the hope of the foundation, as well as city and village officials that this overwhelming show of support will show law enforcement officers that their commitment to the betterment of community and sacrifices to serve and protect, are both honored and appreciated.

For questions or additional information, contact Amos at 330-472-6489 or cfslpolicememorial@ohiofop49.org. Visit www.cfslpolicememorial.org.