SCRANTON -- Future police officers honored fallen heroes in Scranton on Saturday. It's part of a growing effort to remember police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Wreaths are a common sight this time of year. They can be a gift or a decoration to celebrate the holiday, but these have a special meaning.
63 wreaths were given out on Vine Street in Scranton, each to honor a police officer who died in the line of duty.
Cadets from the Lackawanna College Police Academy gave the wreaths to the deserving departments from nine different counties throughout the area.
"This is our first year, and I'm sure it will get bigger as we go. Some officers could not make it today, so I'm hoping that at some point we get everybody on board and that this program will spread nationwide," said Comm. Michael Flanagan, Wyoming Borough Police.
The Fallen Hero's Wreath Program was started in Philadelphia following the death of an officer in 2009. It was started here by instructors at the police academy who know this is one of the toughest lessons a cadet has to learn.
"When you're in the academy, you get a lot of training and you reach a point where the realization hits you. It goes with everyone who goes into this job. One day you wake up and you realize, I may not come home one day. And you go to work knowing that and keeping that in mind. God willing, you come home safe," said Ofc. Macson McQuirk, Wyoming Borough Police.
One wreath represents a Wilkes-Barre police officer killed in 1875. Another represents a Scranton officer killed just two years ago.
The wreath is a symbol of what these officers carry with them every day.
"You saw the looks on these officers faces today, and the cadets, who are new and coming into our profession. It's an honor, and we want to make sure we never forget the officers who paid the ultimate price," said Flanagan. "And it's important, I think, for the families of those officers to realize we still honor them and remember them and that they will never be forgotten."