Though one is far more prominent than the other, there are actually two Memorial Days for Americans to observe this month.

Most everyone is familiar with the federal holiday, which occurs the last Monday of every May and honors the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. But far fewer are aware of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which takes place every May 15 and pays tribute to the local, state and federal peace officers who have died or become disabled in the line of duty.

Here is everything you need to know in order to pay your respects during this time of remembrance:

History of Peace Officers Memorial Day

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week of each year during which May 15 occurs as Police Week. The proclamation stated, in part, that the purpose of this holiday and corresponding week was to "pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime."

In 1982, the Peace Officers Memorial Service was first held in Senate Park, with approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement gathering near the steps of the U.S. Capitol. In the decades since, the service has grown into a series of events held in our nation's capital, which draw between 25,000 to 40,000 attendees each year, according to

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Over the years, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C.'s Judiciary Square has become an increasingly important site for National Police Week events. Completed in 1982, the monument features the names of over 21,000 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty throughout American history. This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the sculpture's groundbreaking.

In 1994, a subsequent proclamation by President Bill Clinton directed that the flag be flown at half-mast on Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Celebrating National Police Week

This year, there are multiple services and events happening in Washington D.C. throughout Police Week, and the complete schedule can be found online.

From the annual Blue Mass held by first responders at St. Patrick's Catholic Church to the Police K-9 Memorial Service for fallen police dogs, there are many special commemorations taking place in our nation's capital. The largest such event will be the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, sponsored by the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police and the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary. The service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15, on the West Front of the United States Capitol, and is expected to run for 2 hours. There will also be a wreath-laying ceremony immediately following the Memorial Service.

The event follows the 31st Annual Candlelight Vigil held on the National Mall on the evening of Monday, May 13.

To accommodate the tens of thousands of law enforcement officers who flock to D.C. each year, the Fraternal Order of Police D.C. Lodge #1 sponsors receptions open to all law enforcement personnel each afternoon and evening during Police Week.

Even if you aren't headed to Washington D.C., there are many ways to honor law enforcement officers this week. Communities across the country host their own memorial services, so you may be able to find a local event. And even if there are none happening near you, there are always individual ways to privately remember those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, and to thank the men and women who serve in your local law enforcement agency.