Former Rochester Police Sgt. Steve Franks stood beneath the flags at the Olmsted County Government Center dressed in a kilt and holding a bagpipe in his arms to perform "Amazing Grace" at the stroke of midnight Saturday.
His performance as the 'Midnight Piper' was to kick off National Law Enforcement Memorial Day. The event featured him and a combination of Rochester police officers and Olmsted County Sheriff's deputies, along with a few spectators, watching from a distance as Franks performed three verses of the song.
The Midnight Piper ceremony has taken place nationwide for several decades, originating with the Chicago Police Department in 1994, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund website. This was the first time is was observed in Rochester.
The performer has historically played "Amazing Grace" at either memorials or in front of law enforcement agencies at midnight to honor fallen officers and survivor families and friends.
"My guess it's going to continue every year because that was really cool," Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgenson said.
As Franks reached the conclusion of his performance, he began walking off into the distance, passing officers and deputies as he went by before the bagpipes slowly became mute.