NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary will be unable to host the 39th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, first responders and those who support law enforcement will attend Wednesday’s candlelight vigil virtually. That includes three departments from Middle Tennessee, honoring three lives taken in 2019:
– Officer John Anderson, Metro Police Department
– Officer Spencer Bristol, Hendersonville Police Department
– Deputy Sheriff Stephen Reece, Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department
“It’s important for us to come together and draw strength from one another,” said James Smallwood, President of Nashville’s Fraternal Order of Police, “This year is definitely different, but it’s important we maintain some measure of assuring we honor those fallen, we walk with those families who are struggling and that they know we’re still here for them.”
Smallwood along with a couple of others put together a memorial video for fallen officer John Anderson and Cheatham County Deputy Stephen Reece who worked at Metro years prior. Officer Spencer Bristol will be remembered through the Hendersonville FOP.
News 2 spoke to Deputy Reece’s wife for the first time today.
“There are times it feels it was only yesterday,” she said, telling us Deputy Reece was and still is, a true hero.
She’s devastated this year’s National Police Week Memorial Service will not be held due to COVID-19. The names of fallen U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty will be formally dedicated on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during a virtual Candlelight Vigil Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“I hate it,” she said, “I want my husband to be recognized for all of his amazing accomplishments.”
She planned on celebrating her husband with around 30,000 other first responders and surviving families at the National Mall this week.
”Not being able to be there in person it is difficult but [everyone] involved in Police Week has gone above and beyond to make sure we’re still able to participate in some of the events,” said Reece.
That includes Nashville’s FOP honoring the men and women, including Reece’s husband, who have bravely given their lives, with a memorial video online.
”It’s still something I carry with me every single day and I’m sure I will until the day I die.”
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.