WILMINGTON — In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a law declaring May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week, the annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a law requiring the flag to be at half-staff in honor of fallen officers.
In observance of National Peace Officers Memorial Day, Wilmington Police will be placing wreaths on Tuesday, May 15 at 1 p.m. at the graves of the two Wilmington police officers who were killed in the line of duty. Both officers are buried in Sugar Grove Cemetery, Wilmington.
The first wreath will be placed at the grave of Ptl. Emery McCreight at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 15. Ptl. McCreight’s grave is directly east of the bridge between the original section and the new section of the cemetery.
Ptl. McCreight was shot shortly before midnight Feb. 14, 1922, when he and his partner, Ptl. Henry “Hank” Adams, interrupted a burglary attempt of a hardware store. Despite attempts to save his life by several local doctors, including Dr. Kelly Hale, a surgeon, Ptl. McCreight died the following day.
A wreath will next be placed at the grave of Marshal John T. Van Doren, who was fatally shot the evening of March 8, 1884, while attempting to calm an intoxicated man causing a disturbance. A struggle ensued, during which Marshal Van Doren was knocked to the ground. As the marshal attempted to stand, the intoxicated man fatally shot him in the head with a revolver.
Marshal Van Doren’s grave is also located in the original section of Sugar Grove Cemetery.
All are welcome to attend the ceremony.