Memorial service honors fallen officers and firefighters

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 28, 2013

 The Roseville Honor Guard begins the service for the Police and Fire Memorial at the Police Department May 17 by raising the flag.

The Roseville Honor Guard begins the service for the Police and Fire Memorial at the Police Department May 17 by raising the flag.

Photo by Sara Kandel

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville police officers and firefighters gathered outside the Police Department May 17 in honor of their peers who had fallen in the line of duty.

The city has held a police and fire memorial every May for the past 15 years. It’s something public safety personnel in the city undertake with a sense of solemn honor.

“It started as a way to remember those who have gone before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for their states and communities,” said Police Chief James Berlin following the event. “It’s evolved into a way to honor the ones that have fallen and the ones that are out there right now and could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice at any moment in time.”

Roseville Mayor John Chirkun, who is a retired police officer, spoke at the memorial service. He expressed gratitude and respect for firefighters and law enforcement professionals, saying the risks involved weren’t the same as at any typical job.

“It’s a lot different from work at a factory, you know,” Chirkun said. “At a factory, you have a reasonable expectation of a safe work environment. As a police officer, you get up in the morning, kiss your wife and kids goodbye, and you never know what is going to happen — whether it will be a good day or the day that tragedy enters your life.”

Held on a sunny morning, the service was one of the biggest Chirkun can recall.

“This year was a good turnout and it made me feel really good,” Chirkun said. “There was more people than any other year I can remember, and there were a lot of city workers, but there were a lot of residents, too.”

Berlin acknowledged the turnout but said he hopes to grow the event for next year.

“We are going to try to make it bigger next year,” Berlin said. “We want to make it more of a community event.”

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins, who spent years serving as a firefighter and as a police officer, is a supporter of the idea.

“I think this is a very somber and respectful program and I would encourage more awareness of it,” Adkins said. “The remembrance portion is important: We don’t want to forget those sacrifices that have been made, but it’s important to also be mindful of the risks associated with both those jobs (police and fire) and remember the men and women still making those sacrifices today.”

Berlin spoke passionately about the dedication of his officers and their willingness to put it all on the line to keep Roseville safe.

“We are here and we are ready to serve,” Berlin said. “We will do the best we can to protect our residents and their homes and their families every day.”

After a prayer by Eastpointe Police Chaplain James Friedman, the Roseville Police and Fire Honor Guard stepped forward and a 21-gun salute honored the 153 officers who fell in the line of duty around the country last year, the thousands more who were injured in the line of duty and all the men and women, police officers and firefighters, who are prepared each day to confront injury or even death to keep their communities safe.

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