On Tuesday, our city honored the memory of a fine young Cleveland police officer who lost his life in the line of duty just two years ago.
Officer Justin Maples was on his way to assist city and county law enforcement attempting to stop a crime in progress, when his cruiser crashed into a utility pole. Maples lost his life in that wreck.
Each year his peers at the Cleveland Police Department remember him with a memorial service. It is held at our community's monument to memorialize our first responder heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Emergency Services Memorial is located next to the Museum Center At Five Points and it is inscribed with names of local police, fire and rescue personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty through the years.
Tuesday was a bright and sunny spring morning. It was just right for those gathered on Inman Street to watch the Cleveland Police Department Honor Guard carry a wreath from their offices on Second Street to the memorial. The officers remember their fallen hero each year with this special ceremony.
Last weekend, the public had an opportunity to see the advanced technology being utilized by the Cleveland Fire Department. Visitors were invited to join members of our Cleveland Fire Department during their annual open house. We can be justly proud of this fine department, its trained professionals and the advanced technology they maintain for our safety. Six of our local firefighters recently were recognized for their work which saved two lives in March. They are among the many first responder “heroes” we have in our area.
Today, we are recognizing them and other heroes during the 2014 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon of Cleveland 100. This year we honor and celebrate the commitment, dedication and sacrifice made by all of our police, fire, rescue, emergency medical and emergency dispatchers. These men and women respond to our calls for help at whatever hour of the day.
The annual Cleveland 100 luncheon is a brief time for the extraordinary members of this family of professionals to come together for fellowship and recognition. This year we honor more than 80 men and women with Dedicated Professional, Community Service and Awards of Excellence presentations. Their numerous feats of heroism, unselfish acts of sacrifice and professionalism are spotlighted as President Brenda Lawson reads the list of award winners, and they are recognized.
The luncheon and awards are made possible each year by many individuals and businesses in our community. They donate to Cleveland 100 to assure there are funds to help the families left behind when tragedies occur. It also enables us to recognize the work of those who serve and protect us all.
It is fitting these community events come just before our nation observes the Memorial Day weekend. With its beginnings in the Civil War to honor fallen soldiers, the holiday was known as Decoration Day for generations. After World War II, it became Memorial Day. Then in 1967, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Act, which placed Memorial Day on the calendar as the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the sacrifices of others. A good way to celebrate this holiday is to spend time with family and friends. Cleveland and Bradley County’s annual Memorial Day event is Monday morning at the Bradley County Courthouse Plaza. Join us as we pay tribute to our men and women in the armed services and as we honor some of our local heroes who live right here in our community.
It’s the start of summer — what a great way to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.
Cleveland’s annual Memorial Day observance is always a meaningful show of patriotism and spirit. It’s just another reason Cleveland’s image is growing far and wide as “The City With Spirit.”
See you Monday morning!