Editors' Note: The two memorials described by Lakewood PD's Sgt. Mark Eakes were dedicated Sunday and Monday.
This is a tough time of year for all of us. This time last year, our brothers and sister were preparing to have what would be their last Thanksgiving meal with their respected families.
It also was the middle of what would be two months of living hell as six officers were killed in this area within a short time period. I personally knew and had worked with five of them.
Two public memorials will honor our four fallen officers — Sgt. Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, and Greg Richards.
The first memorial was built outside the Forza Coffee shop where our officers were murdered. It's more of a community memorial because most of the supplies and funds were donated by local companies and citizens.
Four flagpoles — each representing one of the officers — ring one side of the memorial. There's also a wall that surrounds the memorial — four missing sections also represent the officers. The top of the wall is narrow and will be lined with blue marble to represent The Thin Blue Line.
There will also be a sign with the officers pictures and a brief explanation about the senseless act that occurred inside the shop. Next to the coffee shop is a public traffic circle that has now been renamed "Officers Memorial Drive." This memorial and street was dedicated Sunday.
The second memorial has been built outside our station. It's also a beautiful memorial that includes benches and a water feature. The granite wall that makes up the memorial is in three sections. One panel depicts a mourning officer (modeled after an actual Lakewood PD officer) on one knee.
The middle panel displays four stars with each fallen officer's name below each star. The third panel displays a quote from Lakewood's Mayor Doug Richardson, "There Is No Higher Calling Than To Do One's Duty. And They Served Well."
Room was left on this memorial to add names if ever needed. The design for the memorial was voted on by the department. This memorial was dedicated today.
During the dedication ceremony, Richardson, Gov. Chris Gregoire, and Chief Bret Farrar spoke. The families of the fallen officers, numerous officers from around the region and hundreds of citizens attended the memorials.
Everyone seems to still want to do something as we continue the journey of healing. As the anniversary date approached, grateful citizens across the country delivered food, memorial gifts, cards from school children and encouraging words.
We will again be riding in the Police Unity Tour in 2011. We will be honored to ride with Officer Tina Griswold's brother, who is a corrections officer in Washington state.
Sgt. Mark Eakes is a sergeant with the Lakewood (Wash.) PD. He led a team of four Lakewood PD officers participating in the Police Unity Tour during National Police Week.