Last week, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles unveiled a special memorial dedicated to slain Florida Highway Patrol troopers. The FHP Memorial Wall of Honor, which is located in the lobby of the Neil Kirkman building in Tallahassee, features the 41 names of the men and women killed in the line of duty from December 1941 to January 2007.
The memorial unveiling ceremony held on the morning of November 27, 2007, began with the Presentation of Colors by Lieutenant John Bagnardi, Corporal Scott Overstreet, and Trooper John Castleberry - members of the Troop H Color Guard. Executive Director Electra Theodorides-Bustle welcomed everyone and reminded us that "those we remember today did not live to be called heroes. They died protecting their fellow citizens from danger. The entire state pays respect to them for their service and their sacrifice."
Father Alex Chetsas, Troop H Chaplain, gave the invocation and challenged us to continue to serve the people of the State of Florida.
Colonel John T. Czernis charged us to remember that "the rule of law does not come cheap. It exacts a heavy toll on the men and women who serve, and the families whose love makes that service possible. We will remain forever grateful for their service. This permanent memorial wall will inspire us, and future generations, to continue to reflect on their lives and our loss. We will remain forever grateful for their sacrifice."
At the closing of the ceremony, the FHP Memorial Wall of Honor was unveiled to reveal the names and the posting of the passage, "Their duty was to serve. Our duty is to remember."