May is a unique month for us at the Attorney General’s Office. Not only is May the official month to recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage (which is significant especially considering our current attorney general’s family heritage), but May is also the month to commemorate National Police Week (May 9 – May 15), Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15), and Memorial Day (May 31).
On May 6 of this year, many of us (including AG Reyes) at the Capitol Office were invited to attend the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Law Enforcement Memorial on the western side of the Capitol grounds. It was a solemn event that was attended by many police chiefs and officers from the surrounding area. Also in attendance were the families and friends of this year’s two honorees: Officer Nate Lyday of the Ogden Police Department, and Officer Franklin Schaerrer of the Utah Highway Patrol.
We watched as the speakers described the two fallen officers and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. They had died as heroes, having given the ultimate sacrifice while protecting all that Utah stands for. Officer Lyday had died while in the line of duty in May 2020, and Officer Schaerrer died from wounds sustained in the line of duty in July 1945. We stood still and quiet as their families and friends were brought forward to place their memorial plaque on the wall of honor.
Along the top of the wall, it reads: “In Valor there is Hope”. Certainly these two men and their sacrifice is proof of that. Because of men like Officers Lyday and Schaerrer, Utah has hope for a brighter and safer tomorrow.
This year, we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice while in defense of our state and our nation. We are indebted to all those who died protecting our country, its values, and its citizens. We celebrate their memories and their lives, and reflect and remember the lives lost to preserve our freedoms and our way of life.
We share our thanks and love for all Utah law enforcement officers, past and present. We share an equal measure of gratitude to all Utah servicemen and servicewomen who protect our great nation. We are indebted to each of you.
This Police Week, Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Memorial Day, we say: Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being the best of us.