29th Annual Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Service
Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society – Honor Our Fallen
Photos by Steve Gusky
Today, the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society hosted the 29th Annual Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Parade. The parade stepped off at 10:30 with the Cleveland Division of Police Motorcycle Unit leading the way. The parade marched down Lakeside Avenue and passed underneath a giant American flag held up in the sky by two ladder trucks from the Division of Fire. Lights activated on the bikes and cars flashed under a grey sky. The Mounted Unit followed with the solemn Riderless Horse, followed by the esteemed Cleveland Police Pipes and Drums and the Command Staff marching in step behind them.
Many other agencies participated in the event as officers come from far and wide to pay their respects to the fallen. Canadian officers and the Marine Corps Band were in full participation, carrying their own colors. Police vehicles, including historic ones and SWAT’s vehicle “Mother” followed along in the procession. Many people came out to line the sidewalks of Lakeside Avenue and wave as the parade passed by.
The parade stops at Hunting Park at Police Memorial Square at West Third Street at Lakeside Avenue. The Memorial Services were led by WKYC Channel 3’s Russ Mitchell, who did a wonderful job of announcing. The Ceremonial Command Officer was Sergeant David Tomcho of the Strongsville Police Department. The national anthems of the USA and Canada were performed as officers and guests stood to salute the flags. Charles W. Lane Jr., the President of the Memorial Society, Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Sheriff Frank Bova all gave remarks.
This year’s guest speaker was Holly Miktarian, the surviving spouse of P.O. Joshua T. Miktarian, Twinsburg Police Department, EOW July 13, 2008. Holly moved the crowd with her recollection of the time she spent with her husband and the heavy heart she has today. Miktarian’s young daughter made the trip onto the stage with her mother, reminding everyone of the family he left behind as she lit up the stage with her pretty face.
For the wreath presentation and survivor escort, Lieutenant James O’Malley of the Cleveland Division of Police along with Toronto Police Service Sergeant Stephen Sadler lead Linda Tracz, surviving Spouse of Patrol Officer Joseph Tracz, Cleveland Division of Police, EOW September 28, 1970, to lay a wreath in her husband’s name. The Halton Regional Police Chorus then sang “Good Bye My Friend”, followed by the Survivor’s Prayer read by Grace Leon, surviving spouse of Wayne Leon, Cleveland Division of Police, EOW June 25, 2000.
To end: a moment of silence, followed by a rifle salute by the Strongsville Police Department, TAPS by the Marine Corps Band and the Police Officer’s Prayer read by John Kalavsky, Retired Chief of Police, Warrensville Heights, Director of Regional Security Services for the Cleveland Clinic. Closing remarks were read by Detective Sergeant Randal Koubeck, Lorain County Sheriff’s Department.
Each year we gather together to always remember our fallen officers, keeping the promise to never forget.