CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Joe Manchin today issued a proclamation, in accordance with a presidential proclamation, ordering all U.S. and state flags displayed at state facilities lowered to half-staff the entire day of Saturday, May 15, in commemoration of all federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty. May 15 is recognized as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
“Peace Officers Memorial Day allows us to pay tribute to our brave men and women in uniform who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their dedication and sacrifice has allowed citizens across our country to live a better quality of life,” said Gov. Manchin.
National Peace Officers Memorial Day is held annually in the United States on May 15 in honor of federal, state and local officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. It is observed in conjunction with Police Week.
The governor said, “Our first responders are special because of their bravery and willingness to stand in harm’s way to protect the rights and safety of others.”
Flags will also be flown at half-staff Saturday in honor of the distinguished life and service of World War II veteran Lt. Jack Arnett.
Arnett, a Charleston, W.Va. native, enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Fort Hayes, Columbus, OH, on March 7, 1941. He was deployed to Wake Island in the South Pacific as a member of the 307th Bombardment Group, United States Army Air Forces.
While piloting a B-24J Liberator on a mission, Lt. Arnett, along with 10 crew members, were shot down by enemy forces near what is now the state of Koror, Republic of Palau.
Recovery efforts launched in October 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2008, near Babeldaob Island in the Republic of Palau by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command teams, scientists and a private wreckage hunting group known as the BentProp Project, led to the discovery of the B-24 airplane flown by Lt. Arnett.
Arnett’s remains were returned to the United States and escorted by a member of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command on December 8, 2009. A portion of Lt. Arnett’s remains were interred in Orlando, Fla., next to his brother’s gravesite.
A memorial service for Arnett is scheduled for Saturday, May 15, at Friendly Cemetery, in Friendly, W.Va., with full military honors to commemorate his courageous and heroic actions.