Public Safety Vigil of Support Held in Faribault
The Faribault American Legion Post 43 and other veterans organizations from around the area held a candlelight vigil at the Rice County Courthouse on Sunday night.
The turnout of public safety professionals and their families was excellent along with military veterans from all branches of service.
Color Guards and Honor Guards from Faribault, Morristown, Kenyon, Elysian, Northfield, Waseca and Owatonna attended the 40-minute ceremony. Seven of the nine groups in attendance conducted a rifle salute to the fallen and taps were played.
Faribault Legion Commander Kirk Mansfield told those gathered he was impressed by the turnout considering the short notice. He said the purpose of the event was a simple one.
With the mood of the nation and "it's unfathomable what's going on." He added the veterans just wanted to, "do a little something to acknowledge the sacrifices that are being made on a daily basis. Not only by those serving but certainly their families behind the scenes."
Mansfield told the police, firefighters, ambulance personnel, State Patrol and sheriff's deputies in attendance, "we want all of you to know you have the support of your military veterans community."
Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn followed by thanking the military for their service to the nation and putting together the event.
Dunn added, "our agencies have been overwhelmed by cards from families, school children, day care children, churches, community organizations and citizens from here and afar."
Comments of supported have also been received and Dunn said, "You know what I call that? I call that community. I call that healing. I call that respect. I call that love."
The Rice County sheriff added, "In 2016, 70 peace officers have been killed in the line of duty, 33 by gunfire. Many of them ambushed and taken from their families way to soon. And for what? Because they don't believe in the system of laws we fight to uphold. Only those responsible for that can tell us."
Dunn pleaded with those in attendance to "Please remind your friends and family, your neighbors and your elected officials. Tell them how you feel. Tell them what you want. Tell them you want to continue to be an ally to your public servants. Tell them to support everyone that make the laws and uphold them. Tell them that all lives matter."
He added, "Please continue to be our eyes and our ears in the community and work with us to find those who choose to break the laws and hold them accountable for their actions. We are not in this alone. For without you we will not be successful."
The podium was then opened to anybody to come forward, and the first was Father Henry Doyle.
He said these people "put their lives on the line for us at all times. They deserve our respect. They deserve our care for them because they deal with some very difficult situations. They respond to our needs whenever we call upon them. They are truly men and women who have hearts, who care about others. Because when we hurt, they hurt. We need to be very cooperative with them. Help them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Each day it is my hope and prayer that they will all be safe."
Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst, Capt. Jason Severson of the Faribault Police Department, Dave Augustin with North Memorial Ambulance, Faribault Mayor John Jasinski, State Sen. Vicky Jensen and Rice County Commissioner Steve Bauer also spoke.
Mansfield read a roll call of those officers killed in July from across the United States as those in attendance lit and held candles.
He pointed out by comparison to the 70 officers nationwide and 20 in July that have been killed in the line of duty, there have been 12 military casualties so far this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, four in Afghanistan and eight in Iraq.