May is a month for remembrance in Baltimore County.
On Friday, May 4, Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens sponsored the Annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony. Since 1986, this event has honored all those in Maryland's public safety community who have lost their lives over the previous year. More than 1,200 people typically attend the service. This year, attendees honored Maryland Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter, who died when his patrol car collided with the back of a parked tractor-trailer along Interstate-95.
A week later, on Friday, May 11, we honored those police officers who have given their lives while serving the people of Baltimore County. Over the history of the Baltimore County Police Department, eight police officers have died while on duty. The ceremony is held at the police memorial on the south lawn of Patriot Plaza, next to the Historic Courthouse.
This weekend, I attended a similar service at the firefighters memorial, which parallels the police monument on the other side of Patriot Plaza. In Baltimore County, the professional fire stations are complemented by a system of volunteer firefighter units. Many jurisdictions have volunteer stations, but rarely is the relationship so extensive. We owe a debt of gratitude to all our firefighters and paramedics.
And finally, this Memorial Day weekend, we will honor all those who have served in our armed forces.
The men and women who guard our communities and our country deserve our eternal gratitude. Those of us in public office should do whatever we can to provide them and their families the resources, pay and benefits they deserve.