Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 16, 2018 12:03 p.m.
Memorial Day – May 28, 2018
Many military veterans were in attendance to accept the City of Fernandina Beach Proclamation declaring May 28, 2018 as Memorial Day in honor of those members of the military who fought and died in defense of the country and the Constitution for over 200 years.
Vice Mayor Len Kreger called upon citizens to participate in the scheduled Military Veterans Memorial Day Observance presented by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1088, Nassau County, here in Fernandina Beach and, especially, to pause for a personal moment of silence in honor of those who have died in service to our great Nation.
In accepting the Proclamation, former City Commissioner John Crow, representing the Vietnam Veterans of America local chapter, invited all citizens to attend the annual Memorial Day Commemoration at 11:00 a.m. on May 28 at the foot of Centre Street. He said that the program would be followed by a laying of the wreath in the Amelia River in honor of the fallen.
Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week
Fernandina Beach Police Deputy Chief Mark Foxworth accepted a Proclamation declaring May 15, 2018, as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week of May 13, 2018, as “National Police Week” in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, lost their lives or became disabled in the performance of their duty. Police Chief James “Frank” Surrency was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1930, while serving the citizens of Fernandina.
In delivering the Proclamation, Mayor John Miller said, “It is important that all Florida citizens know and understand the unique challenges and responsibilities of their Police Department, and that members of our Police Department fully recognize their duty to serve the people by protecting life and property, by standing up against violence and disorder, and by shielding the innocent and the weak against oppression or intimidation.”
Surrounded by Fernandina Beach Police Officers, Foxworth thanked the commission and the community and delivered heartfelt remarks about the ever-changing roles that officers must play in dealing with the multitude of problems they confront each day in the community. He said that officers are called upon to deal with “distasteful things” like domestic violence and abuse as well as dangerous situations. He said that police are called upon to make split second decisions, which are then followed by weeks and months of second-guessing by the media and the justice system. “It’s a profession where you can be a hero one day and a villain the next, thanks to a YouTube snippet and an overzealous media,” Foxworth said. “It’s the only profession I know of where you are cursed at, society expects you to be threatened, and we are at times assaulted and even killed.”
Foxworth said that policing is a tough job, but officers believe they can make the community better by working with the community. “[Police officers] come back every day, knowing they can try to keep people from hurting each other, keep drunks off the road. They come back entering people’s lives trying to fix things. They can only do that because of the support in this room, and we thank you for that.”
Foxworth and the members of the Fernandina Beach Police Department left the podium to a standing ovation from the audience and city commissioners.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.