Governor Timothy M. Kaine today unveiled the design for the Virginia Public Safety Memorial, establishing a state-level memorial to honor the Commonwealth’s fallen public safety professionals. The Memorial will be constructed in the Darden Garden at Capitol Square, and will serve as an enduring acknowledgment of the ultimate sacrifice made by those valiant men and women who died in the line of duty.
“Unfortunately, every year Virginia mourns the loss of members of its public safety community,” said Governor Kaine. “A Public Safety Memorial will faithfully remember these fallen heroes as courageous citizens who proudly and bravely protected the health, safety, and welfare of our Commonwealth.”
Since 1972, 352 brave Virginians have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their fellow citizens. Virginia’s Public Safety Memorial will memorialize all those public safety officials who have lost their lives in the line of duty, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, jail and correctional officers, members of the Virginia National Guard and Defense Force, emergency management and Hazmat personnel, alcohol enforcement agents, volunteer rescue squad members, emergency medical services personnel, conservation police, marine resource officers, state park rangers and forest wardens.
Through Executive Order 52, Governor Kaine established the Public Safety Memorial Commission to recommend a site and memorial design to honor the fallen members of the public safety community. Chaired by the Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, this Commission included a diverse membership of state legislators, representatives from state agencies, members of the public safety community and family members of fallen officers.
The Public Safety Memorial Commission received over 60 applicants that were carefully narrowed down to six final designs. From the finalists, Yoshikawa Wright and Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture’s Memorial Garden Design was selected unanimously by the Public Safety Memorial Commission and approved by the Governor as the design that epitomizes what the memorial is meant to represent. The Memorial is timeless, provides a good use of space and eloquently honors these fallen public safety officers. The design will honor the lives of fallen public safety officials in an open space that will not hinder pedestrian traffic and will allow for public events at the future memorial.
The Virginia Public Safety Foundation has assumed the leadership of the fundraising and contractual obligations of the Memorial. Virginia’s Public Safety Foundation was formed in 1993 to support those who serve and protect the Commonwealth and is the only statewide nonprofit organization assisting all of the primary branches of public safety.
Governor Kaine was to hold a public unveiling of the design in the Darden Garden in front of the Virginia General Assembly Building today, but the event was cancelled as heavy snow across the state diverted key public safety personnel for snow emergency response efforts. A model of the design is now on display in lobby of Patrick Henry Building and is available as an Adobe PDF file at: http://www.publicsafety.virginia.gov/Initiatives/MemorialCommission/Memorial_Commemorative_Sign.pdf