Monuments to Police Matters

Two landmarks in Washington, DC – a city with memorials honoring presidents, fallen warriors, and those who shaped history for the better – hold special significance for the role of the police in American society. Jane Pauley reports.

Video transcript


Washington, DC is a city of memorials honoring presidents, our fallen warriors, and those who shaped history for the better. But there are two memorials in Washington that are particularly relevant to this morning’s show. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honors peace officers killed in the line of duty. It is a place of quiet contemplation nestled among the city’s federal courts.

The names of the dead are inscribed on its marble walls as well as this quote: “It was not how these officers died that made them heroes.” This is how they lived.

Nearby is an entirely different memorial, the one that took shape last summer during the protests following the police murder of George Floyd. Black Lives Matter Plaza is a two-block stretch of 16th Street that leads to the front yard of the White House. His 50-foot letters sent an unequivocal message to the world, commemorating what is considered the largest civil rights protest movement in American history.

Two memorials, one city, two facets of the same issue.

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