Page 38 - FOP May 2019 Magazine
P. 38

   Illinois Police Officers Memorial
  Illinois state government leaders greet the children of Samuel Jimenez at the Illinois Police Officers Memorial.
happened, the work of Chicago Police Officers continued. Each fallen hero is never far from the department’s collective thoughts, yet officers try to move forward from pain that you cannot move on from.
The interfaith church service and memorial ceremony pro- vided another step — an important one — in the grieving pro- cess. The power of the moment, and the perspective it provides, were not lost on Officer Michael Ostrowski, a 26-year-veteran and Honor Guard member.
“You’ve got to go do this. You’ve got to experience this,” Os- trowski said. “This is a very unique opportunity to see what the police family is all about. When we graduate from the academy, that’s our birth. When you retire, that’s the end. In the middle, the possibility exists [of not making it home]. You have to realize the sacrifices your brother and sisters, and their families, have made.
“You have to feel this and take it out with you like a mission- ary. Take it back with you on the street and let the other officers know you’ve got to be there for each other,” Ostrowski added.
For Officer Paul Zogg, who has spent 19 years on the job and served with the Department Honor Guard, the memorial trip served two purposes.
“I think it helps to give just a little healing. It gives us time to help the families, which is really what we’re down here for — to remember the sacrifices that the officer and their family made and continue to make,” Zogg shared. “We just like to be down here in order to achieve both those goals as best as we can.”
Remembrance was a key theme on this special day. While countless officers went back to work the day after their brothers died, because that’s what the job calls for, the city paused and united for weeks. The memorial showed everyone in attendance that no one has been forgotten and that the support system is as important as ever.
“I think [the memorial] gives everyone a chance to see that they’re still supported. It reminds the family that we’re still here, we’re still behind them. Anything they need, we’re here for them,” Officer Bobbie Bowen explained. “It gives the officers who knew one of the fallen...the same thing. It reminds them the brotherhood still exists...that ultimately we’re all here for one another and anything that someone might need, they can always reach out and we’re here for them.”
During his homily at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Con- ception, Father Michael Friedel encouraged everyone within the chapel to look around — at the men and women in uniform from Joliet to Peoria, big city to small suburb — and realize there exists a love and understanding within law enforcement that few others truly know.
“They were faithful to their duties to the point of death,” Frie- del said of the four heroes. “We’re all faced by the nonsensical feelings of death. The good news is that we are not alone in our sadness.”
The figurative shoulder to cry on and ear to listen extends around Illinois. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton praised the “legacy of heroism” represented by the quartet of officers who were lost in 2018, although she acknowledged the men gave all and left much behind.
“Every loss is a loss too many. We are standing here and wrap- ping our arms around the families, spouses, children, friends, precincts and community members whose lives were turned upside down by this tragic loss,” Stratton said inside the Illi- nois State Library, where the ceremony was held for the third
 Kelly Gary, wife of fallen Chicago Police Officer Conrad Gary, receives words of honor from Chicago Police Department First Deputy Superinten- dent Anthony Riccio.
 Erin Bauer (center) and members of her family attend the Illinois Police Of- ficers Memorial where her husband, Commander Paul Bauer, was honored for making the ultimate sacrifice.

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