Hundreds came together in several ceremonies held across town today, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. 57 officers have lost their lives here in Kern County across all the different law enforcement agencies. Thursday was about remembering each and every one of those that we have lost.
For almost six decades it's been a day of remembrance to honor those in our community who lost their lives in the line of duty. For some in our community, they are more than just another person in uniform. "It's about a man who was a father, a husband, a son or daughter and these memorials just help you keep all that in mind," said Don Archuleta, his son was killed in the line of duty. Don Archuleta lost his son Daniel in 2004. Daniel Archuleta was a 35 year old deputy sheriff here in Kern County. Don and his wife have attended the Kern County Sheriff's Office's peace officer memorial every year since Daniel’s passing. "He wanted to be a police officer ever since he was a small boy, we'd watch the programs “One Adam 12” way back then and he would run around the house enacting that show."
Just like Archuleta Melissa Manning-Alsop also lost someone while they were on duty. "We remember Dave every day," said Manning-Alsop. She lost her husband David in 1996 while he was working for the California Highway Patrol. “Dave was a one in a million kind of guy, he was liked by everyone," said Manning-Alsop.
Today's memorials aren't just for the families, they are also for their fellow brothers in uniform. "We haven't forgotten their loved ones, we also wanna thank them for letting us borrow their loved ones," said Officer Robert Rodriguez, with California Highway Patrol.
"At the end of the day when we have an incident that occurs the color of the uniform doesn't really matter," said Donny Youngblood, the Kern County Sheriff.
And whether those who lost a loved one are attending for the first time or have attended before…"Take solace in the fact that they are loved, we appreciate their service and that they'll never be forgotten,” said Lyle Martin, the Chief of Bakersfield Police. It means everything to the families. "Every time we hear his name mentioned that it keeps him alive in us," said Archuleta.
Memorials like this are held around the nation every year and for the families that attend they say they keep coming back because it is comforting to know that their loved one’s legacy lives on.