Black Friday has another meaning this year. November 29, the day four Lakewood police officers were killed south of Tacoma a decade ago, lands on the same day this year as the kick-off of Christmas shopping season.
Of course Black Friday marks the day when retailers’ finances traditionally get “into the black” for the year. This time of remembrance for fallen officers is also a good thing.
Ten Year Memorial
Those heading to this year’s event were greeted with darkness and 20 degree temperatures. Blue field lights were lit at JBLM‘s McChord Field across the street even though there was no takeoff or landing activity.
It’s freezing cold outside but warm inside. Blue Steele Coffee, the site of the event, has a Christmas tree adorned with blue lights. The steady line at the counter includes many first responders in uniform.
The adjacent Officers Memorial Drive was closed to traffic for the memorial. The sunrise illuminated the huge American flag unfurled from a West Pierce Fire & Rescue ladder truck.
Attendees included over a dozen police officers, over a hundred community members, and a half dozen news crews that might otherwise be documenting Black Friday shopping activities.
Law Enforcement Gathering Place
The four officers were killed in the shop while preparing for their shifts. It’s still a popular place for police and fire fighters to stop for coffee.
First responders from around the country stop to pay their respects (and sometimes leave a patch). Motorcycle clubs include a stop at Blue Steele in their memorial rides.
The commemoration was held at the Law enforcement memorial at the corner of Steele Street and Officers Memorial Drive.