JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Members of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph’s housing community stood outside their homes, cheered and waved as sirens wailed and a procession of security forces, medical and fire department vehicles, along with percussionists from the Air Force Band of the West, paraded past them on the morning of May 13.
The parade marked the 902nd Security Forces Squadron’s tribute to all of the JBSA location’s first responders, health care professionals and another special group of public servants during National Police Week.
“We truly want to showcase not only our base law enforcement, but all of our first responders, including fire and medical personnel,” said Capt. Nathan Bratka, 902nd SFS operations officer. “This year also differs because we want to recognize our teachers who have been doing a tremendous amount of work given the current environment.”
In years past, National Police Week activities have included obstacle courses, military working dog and marksmanship competitions, and candlelight vigils, but the COVID-19 public health emergency altered plans this year, Bratka said.
“This year is different because we could not host our normal events due to social distancing guidelines and public safety concerns,” he said.
Adherence to public health guidelines during the coronavirus crisis was evident as Band of the West members wore face masks and kept their distance from each other during their ceremonial march through base housing.
But those restrictions didn’t diminish their enthusiasm as they kept a joyful beat throughout the parade, nor did it prevent housing residents from expressing their appreciation for their first responders, medical workers and teachers.
National Police Week dates back to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. That same year, Congress established by joint resolution the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week.
“Police Week is a week set aside to truly honor all of our police and law enforcement officers across the United States,” Bratka said. “It is also a time for us to remember our fallen brothers and sisters who have given their lives in the line of duty.”
Bratka expressed his gratitude to the community for their support.
“Thank you for all of your continued support for your base first responders,” he said. “We strive to ensure the safety and welfare of all of JBSA and appreciate all that you do.”
A live feed of the National Police Week parade can be watched on the JBSA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JointBaseSanAntonio.