For Lodi police officers, the National Police Memorial Week ceremony Sunday was a chance to remember Officer Rick Cromwell, who died on duty in 1998.
For everyone, it was an opportunity to reflect on a year that saw many American police officers give their lives during a national crisis.
With heads bowed and in full uniform, several local law enforcers remembered their fallen peers Temple Baptist Church in Lodi.
After a bagpipe procession and the presentation of the American and Californian flags by the Lodi Police Department's Honor Guard, several speakers paid their respects to the officers who died while doing their jobs in 2001.
"Officers represent the citizens of this county, state and nation, and the death of an officer in the line of duty is an affront to all citizens," Sheriff Baxter Dunn said after the services.
Police Memorial Week, officially signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in May 1961, is meant to give recognition to fallen peace officers comparable to that given to those killed in the armed forces.
"This became more important to us the day Rick Cromwell died," Lodi police Chief Jerry Adams said.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks made this year's event especially significant, said Chaplain Mindi Russell of the Sacramento Police Department.
Russell was among a handful of chaplains nationwide to be called by President George W. Bush to help provide aid in New York City after Sept. 11.
But officer fatalities are not limited to national catastrophes, as Lodi discovered in 1998 with Cromwell's death, Adams said.
"Being a police officer is a hard job, and sometimes we all take it for granted," Adams said. "It touches us no matter where we are, New York or Lodi."
Comments about this story? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.
To subscribe to the Lodi News-Sentinel, fill out our online form or call our Subscriber Services Department at (209) 333-1400.