When President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 in 1962, he proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day -- a day when flags are flown at half staff in memory of peace officers who gave their life in the line of duty. As well, the calendar week of each year during which May 15 falls is considered National Police Week, when law enforcement and its devoted members are celebrated across the country.
Locally, the Manlius Police Department formally dedicated it's Wall of Honor built to recognize and honor by name those who have been lost in the line of duty; died while in active service; or have retired from the department since its inception in 1985. It also recognizes and honors as a group those members who have served with the predecessor agencies of the villages of Minoa, Fayetteville and Manlius police departments.
The dedication took place Saturday May 19 at the start of the department's annual National Police Week open house.
The idea for the display came following the death of Lieutenant Kevin W. Barry in 2005 while in service with the department. Manlius Police Chaplain Reverend Jim Corl has since headed a committee and planned the construction of the wall in memory of Barry.
Barry's aunt Jean Flynn was unaware that the wall was constructed in memory of Barry until that morning.
"I'm very proud," Flynn said. "But then I've always been proud of Kevin. He was easy to be proud of." Barry was the oldest son of Flynn's sister. "After his mother and father died, he became my child," she said.
Barry's cousin Meghan Cornish was also present for the unveiling with her husband Randy and two children Zachary and Matthew.
"It means a lot to our whole family," Meghan Cornish said. "Kevin dedicated a lot of time and effort to his work and teaching others."