This column is a few days late from the exact date, but since the event is not heralded in this area or anywhere else, that doesn’t seem to matter.
May 1 was declared Law Day by proper authority several years ago. I’ve not seen an explanation about just what that’s supposed to mean, or how it’s to be celebrated. But, it seems to me if it’s to be celebrated anywhere, it should be here.
After all, for many years the Leavenworth area has been dubbed “Prison City, USA.” That is based on the erroneous thesis that there are five major penal facilities in the area, which there are.
The problem is only two of them are in Leavenworth.
Lansing Correctional Facility, by its very name, is in Lansing, not Leavenworth. And, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and the new Joint Regional Correctional Facility are both on Fort Leavenworth, which is not Leavenworth, either.
The only two of the five correctional facilities in Leavenworth are the U. S. Penitentiary and Correctional Corporation of America, a private facility housing people awaiting federal trial.
But, the fact there are only two correctional facilities in Leavenworth has never deterred the proclamation of it being “Prison City, USA.”
Perhaps one reason Law Day was proclaimed was to honor those correctional officers who have been killed in the line of duty. There is such a ceremony locally, which is proper and should happen.
But, in actuality I don’t see much happening here or anywhere to celebrate Law Day or Law Month.
Several years ago, in the now gone Bell Hall at Fort Leavenworth, there was a remembrance of Law Day each year for several years. My office in Bell Hall was next door to the lawyers’ office, and one day in April many years ago, Maj. Charlotte Herring, an Army lawyer instructor at the Command and General Staff College, burst into my office and said I had to set up a historical display to commemorate Law Month.
She was so excited, and I said I’d be happy to so do, but then began to wonder if I had enough items to come close to filling a display case in Bell Hall. I did, and set up the very first Law Month display, which got more attention than I thought it would from students, faculty, and visitors.
After several years, Herring left, but I continued the displays each May until I retired in 2005. My 18 years of providing displays ended that year, and only twice have the items been taken from their storage boxes for a display somewhere in the area.
Which, now that the column is almost ended, causes me to wonder why I even wrote one, since honoring Law Day, or Law Month as Herring and I made it in the area, ended in 2005.
Maybe it’s because law and order are important in a society, and taking a day or month to honor and recognize those who protect us day-to-day should be done. Too bad it’s really not done.
Herring and I had a few problems with the display as it was mostly about the confinement part of the law. Ergo, the day-to-day military police, who protect and defend the population, felt short changed. To those who questioned the display, we asked how we could depict the protectors and defenders.
Having gotten few answers, we continued the march and hopefully by the end of May the detractors came around and also appreciated the tiny homage to Law Month.
So, to all the protectors and defenders out there, as well as to the confinement workers, I salute you all in your month. And remember, if not for Herring and me, your homage would still be but one day.