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The Remarks Of Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari

NYS Police Officers Remembrance Ceremony

The Police Officers Memorial, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari addresses the state’s annual Police Officer Remembrance Ceremony in Albany. Canestrari paid tribute to the fallen police officers and thanked their families for the valor of their loved ones who sacrificed their lives while protecting the lives of others. The Majority Leader spoke on behalf of Silver, who for the first time in more than a decade was unable to attend this solemn event.
Speaker Silver sends his regrets that he could not be present for this remembrance ceremony on this beautiful day at the State Capital. At his request, I am speaking for the New York State Assembly this afternoon.

I am grateful for the privilege.

To you, the families, friends and colleagues of the Officers we honor today, I humbly offer the gratitude of each and every member of the New York State Assembly.

We join the good citizens of New York State in mourning your loss and in thanking God for blessing us with men and women of profound nobility and indomitable spirit to defend our lives and secure our liberty.

Our unwillingness, as a people to strike a reasonable balance between rights and responsibilities, between freedom and fellowship, feeds an expectation that violence is an inevitable part of life.

Blinded by such feelings, I fear we too readily expend those heroic souls who preserve our peace as though the bounty of their service was inexhaustible.

Then, we look upon this wall and the reality erupts before our eyes.

Behind the glimmering shields which shine so brightly against the blue and the gray stand fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, citizens who are - and who always will be - the heart, the soul, and the backbone of every community in this Empire State.

Even now, as we gather to acknowledge the enormity of their sacrifice, voices can be heard insisting that law enforcement is simply an occupation and that dying comes with the duty.

God help us if such an ignorance ever takes root in the minds and hearts of the generations who will follow us.

Let there be no doubt that law enforcement is a calling.

Let us recognize today and tomorrow all that it demands.

To answer that call is to accept a uniform that includes body armor.

To answer that call is to commit oneself to serving and protecting with equal vigor and equal valor those who respect your authority and yes, those who despise it.

To answer that call is to consent to a code that requires one to be peacemaker and warrior simultaneously;

That requires one to charge into danger when all others are running away;

That demands one make, without fail, split-second, life-and-death decisions perfectly;

And that insists one bear witness to callousness and savagery, and not become disillusioned nor demoralized.

To answer that call is to uphold a standard of nobility and integrity, courage and compassion, endurance and accountability, no one else is expected to adopt.

It is a calling that ultimately asks one, in the moment of truth, to lay down his or her life for another.

In this wall, I see the magnitude of the calling the men and women of law enforcement carry out so admirably every second of every day, and I see the breadth of honor and the selflessness of which humankind is capable.

The Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote, "In valor there is hope."

To the families of the officers we honor today, I thank you for the hope your loved ones have given us. I pray that we will honor it in all that we do.

May God bless you and keep you.

May God bless our law-enforcement officers, guide and protect them wherever they serve.

Thank you.

New York State Assembly
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