Federal law requires American flags to be flown at half-staff May 15, for Peace Officers Memorial Day.

This tribute to American law enforcement officers is part of the historic crime bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994. At the request of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Public Law 103-322 designates Peace Officers Memorial Day as one of only two days each year during which government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half-staff.

“We lower our flags to half mast on May 15 for Peace Officers Memorial Day, as we honor the sacrifices of our law enforcement officers, the more than 20,000 men and women whose names grace the Memorial walls, said Craig W. Floyd, Memorial Fund president and CEO. “These officers deserve the same recognition and appreciation that our military service members receive each Memorial Day.”

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

As part of National Police Week, the names of 123 law enforcement officers killed in 2015, as well as 129 officers who died in prior years, will be formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, on May 13, during the 28th Annual Candlelight Vigil.