I recently paid a visit to the Alexandria Police Fallen Officers Memorial. It’s a place that I occasionally go to break from the daily grind and reflect on the lessons of the past, to share stories of its creation and teach my sons the values of honor, commitment and respect.
This particular visit was different.
One year has passed since the formal dedication of the Memorial, and I was invited back to participate in the inaugural wreath-laying ceremony signifying the start of Police Week and commemorating the 18 fallen officers of the Alexandria Police Department. The opportunity to gather again with the APD family and share another pivotal moment with fellow designers, Tyler Dye and Jason Granado, was rewarding in itself; however, the meaning of this day was so much more.
We were humbled to witness the beginning of a tradition. A tradition that may be considered commonplace around the country, but only now made possible for the City of Alexandria. A tradition born out of a long-awaited space to remember and pay tribute, formed by the lasting legacies of the fallen and reflecting the spirit of community from which the Memorial was built.
As tens of thousands of peace officers throughout the United States made their way to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Police Week festivities, law enforcement representatives from across the Washington metropolitan area came together to support what will become a new tradition in Alexandria.
It was an inspiring display of kinship and yet another reminder of the powerful role that architecture can play in society.
Images courtesy of Jim Craige. Restricted use: Do not use without permission.
Caption: The memorial is anchored by the wall of reflection—glass panels etched with the names of fallen officers—which light up at night to symbolize the fallen officers’ eternal watch over the city.