If you have yet to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, I encourage you make it part of your plans on your next trip to Washington, D.C.
Dedicated by President George H.W. Bush in October 1991, this memorial provides an experience as solemn and moving as visiting any of the other, better-known monuments here in the nation's capital.
Having been responsible for the police department of Indiana's second-largest city during my 12 years as mayor of Fort Wayne, I was particularly moved by seeing the names of over 14,000 police officers killed in the line of duty - officers who took it upon themselves to protect and serve communities all across America. A few of these names from my hometown were well-known by me personally.
On Thursday, May 15, I had the honor of laying a wreath at the Memorial during National Police Week in my capacity as President of the Brady Campaign.
I laid the wreath by the name of Senior Corporal Mark Nix. Corporal Nix served the people of Dallas, Texas as a police officer for seven years, until someone shot and killed him with a military-style semiautomatic assault weapon. (You can read more about his tragic murder here.)
Corporal Nix was engaged to be married, was a brother and a son, and was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm where he served with distinction in the U.S. Navy.
Now, his name is engraved on the Memorial Wall with 14,000 of his brothers and sisters in uniform who gave their lives to protect ours.
This Memorial Day weekend, as we remember our men and women in uniform serving around the world in our armed services, I encourage you also to remember those who serve in our local law enforcement agencies.
They put their lives on the line every day, and every day they have to deal with a criminal element armed with weapons of ever-greater firepower.
We can do something about the challenges faced by our local men and women in uniform. We can adopt policies to make it harder for dangerous people to get their hands on dangerous weapons - doing things like requiring background checks for all gun sales, and restricting easy access to military-style weaponry.
Our law enforcement representatives work hard every day to protect us in America. We should do more to protect them.