On Friday night, Peoria Officer Bill Weigt stood for the national anthem.
It is something he had been wanting to do since Dec. 17, 2005, when he was shot on duty and partially paralyzed.
“It was amazing,” Weigt said. “I knew it would be special - especially in front of the Special Olympians.”
What made it so important to Weigt was this took place during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Arizona.
Weigt served in the U.S. Army from 1993-96. After he was shot chasing a suspect in 2005, Weigt attended many sporting events. Every time “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, Weigt would feel frustration and anger.
“It hurt,” Weigt said. “Everyone else would be standing. I never could.”
As he took his place on the Peoria Police Department Color Guard Friday night, a special, customized wheelchair enabled Weigt to rise up.
“I planted the American flag, held on and stood up,” Weigt said.
“The wind was blowing, it was perfect. I felt very proud to hold the American flag up.”
Weigt said he started participating with the honor guard just a few months ago. “The Special Olympics committee asked us if we could help out,” he said.
“My role in the honor guard was to hold the American flag.”
He said nerves were building as the anthem started playing at the Special Olympics event, at Westview High School in Avondale.
“At first, I was really nervous, wanting to stay in line with everyone,” he said.
On Tuesday, Weigt was back to his regular job, with the Major Crimes Unit of the Peoria Police Department.
“I’m trying to track down a couple of runaways today,” he said.