The Tradition of the Midnight Piper Comes to Rochester
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A somber ceremony took place last night outside the Government Center in downtown Rochester.
For the first time, the Midnight Piper made an appearance in Rochester to mark the start of National Law Enforcement Day. Retired Rochester Police Sergeant Steve Franks, dressed in a ceremonial kilt, played "Amazing Grace" to an audience of law enforcement officers and a few citizens at the stroke of midnight. The event took place next to the flagpoles in front of the Rochester/Olmsted County Law Enforcement Center.
According to the Emerald Society of Minnesota, the Midnight Piper has spread nationally after first becoming an annual tradition at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington DC in 1994. The nonprofit organization of law enforcement officers says the original Midnight Piper was Jimmy O'Connell of the Illinois Emerald Society who started the tradition to honor a Chicago Police Officer and continued it until his death in 2010.
The local commemoration of National Law Enforcement Day began yesterday at the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial where the Bell of Honor was tolled seven times in honor of those who have responded, served, protected, defended, sacrificed, suffered, and lost their life.