Twinsburg — “Don’t worry, Josh. Your best friend is protecting your little girl.”
This is the message Holly Miktarian wrote to her husband, fallen police officer Josh Miktarian, on a photo she took to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. last week. A photo of Miktarian’s 1-year-old daughter, Thea, and his police dog, Bagio, sitting in front of a picture of Miktarian accompanied the note.
Holly and Thea traveled to Washington last week for Peace Officer Memorial services. Miktarian, along with 132 other officers who died in the line of duty across the country in 2008, were honored at the event. She said she attended a candlelight vigil May 13 where the names of the fallen officers were read aloud. On May 15, she attended a wreathlaying ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in honor of Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.
Police Chief Chris Noga said survivors of each fallen officer place a carnation into the memorial wreath at the Capitol. The wreath is then transported to the Peace Officer’s Memorial.
“It is a way to honor the loved ones of the fallen officers,” Noga said. “They have sacrificed and are still sacrificing with the loss of their loved one.”
Besides members of Miktarian’s family, Mayor Katherine Procop, Noga and several other police officers were at the event.
“It was great to look back and see all the guys and their wives that were there representing Josh,” Holly said.
Holly said she spoke with a group of officers who rode bicycles 300 miles to the event from New Jersey with the Police Unity Tour, an event to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty.
Five of the officers in that group carried bracelets with Miktarian’s name on them and presented them to Holly in Washington.
“One of the riders even rode all of the way with a stuffed animal on his bike for Thea,” she said.
Procop said she believes it is important that Miktarian’s family be honored for their sacrifice.
The May 15 service “was very touching,” the mayor said.
Next year, Holly said she and Thea plan to stay closer to home for Peace Officer’s Memorial Week.
“I want to be able to attend the ceremony in Cleveland this year, which we missed because we were in Washington,” she said.
Holly said she would like to return to Washington in the future when Thea is older and more able to participate in events during Peace Officer’s Memorial Week.
“They have a lot of activities for the kids. They even get to go through the FBI academy,” she said. “A lot of them attend each year and make friends there.”
Holly said she would like to return also to reconnect with those she met on the trip.
“It was comforting talking to the families of other officers,” she said.
Miktarian, 33, was shot and killed last July while conducting a traffic stop on Glenwood Drive.
Miktarian was an 11-year officer with the Twinsburg Police Department, and a part-time officer with the Uniontown Police Department.
He was the owner of a pizza shop in Sagamore Hills and played guitar in a local rock band. He graduated from Tallmadge High School in 1993.