It’s been 11 years since Patsy Lee lost her husband and best friend, Bruce Lee, when he was killed in the line of duty in La Quinta.
“Even now, there are times when it’s harder than others but it’s nice to have the support of friends and family,” Patsy said of the annual Blue Light Ceremony held at La Quinta City Hall Monday night.
Bruce Lee was a deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for 22 years. He died on May 13, 2003 at the hand of a suspect who used his own weapon against him.
Every year since Bruce’s death, Patsy has been attending blue light ceremonies throughout the county, honoring those, like Bruce, who we lost too soon.
“It’s nice to to know the department and the community remembers our law enforcement officers,” Patsy said.
The holidays can be especially hard on the families of fallen heroes. While others are reunited with loved ones, Patsy remembers Bruce by decorating their home in blue lights: a symbol of peace and remembrance.
“Bruce and I always used to put up Christmas lights every year, that was one of the things we always did together,” she said. “So after he died I switched to the blue and I use blue and white lights for my decorations now.”
Since 1895, 62 law enforcement officials in Riverside County gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our communities. Now their loved ones are known as survivors, who gather each year to remember them.
“For the survivors who are feeling that pang of loneliness right now, it really means a lot,” said Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff, whose agency hosted the ceremony in La Quinta. “Stopping in the light of all that festive activity and thinking about those officers who were sacrificed.”
Another ceremony is scheduled for December 15 at the County Administrative Center in Riverside.