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Ceremony remembers fallen state troopers

PSP remembers fallen state troopers

George Nowakowski of Duryea retired from the Pennsylvania State Police in 1991, but as he watched the Pennsylvania State Police Memorial Day ceremony at his old barracks, he tearfully said he wished he were back in the line of duty.  “I wish I was back,” he said, looking out over the current troop in their uniforms.  “These guys are fabulous.  They look beautiful and they do their job.”  The annual ceremony honored state troopers, specifically those from Troop P, killed in the line of duty throughout the state police’s history.  Troop P held their ceremony at its barracks on Wyoming Avenue, one of many held at state police barracks throughout the Commonwealth.  Troop P covers Wyoming, Bradford, Sullivan and northern Luzerne counties.  In addition to the fallen, the ceremony also honors active and retired members of the state police.  “It’s a very nice ceremony.  It makes me proud to be working for the Pennsylvania State Police,” said Christine Brewer, a clerk typist at the barracks.  “You don’t realize day-to-day what they go through and it’s nice that we have these to honor the current and also our retired members.”  The ceremony featured a roll call of the 10 members of Troop P who have fallen in the line of duty over the years, speakers and the laying of a wreath to commemorate the day.  The ceremony allows active and retired troopers to remember those before them who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.  For Nowakowski, coming back to recognize and remember those troopers often feels like a reunion with his old troop and fellow retired troopers.  “It’s the greatest day in the world,” Nowakowski said.  State police continue to mourn the loss of Trooper Landon Eugene Weaver, who was killed in December and honored statewide at Tuesday ceremonies. Weaver served with the state police for one year with Troop G in Bedford.  He was the 97th member of the Pennsylvania State Police killed in the line of duty in the force’s 112 year history.  “That memory is always in the back of our minds, we never really forget it,” Trooper Tom Kelly said.  “Every day we go into work, we do our job, but a day like today brings that from the back of our mind to the forefront of our mind,”  Kelly said the annual ceremony serves as a necessary reminder of the difficulties state troopers often face.  “It’s good to keep that memory alive and not let what happened be forgotten,” Kelly said.