Annual Candlelight Vigil Honors 321 Fallen Peace Officers at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
Washington, DC—The names of 321 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty—including 120 who died in 2012—were formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monday evening, during the 25th annual Candlelight Vigil.
An estimated 20,000 people attended the ceremony in person, including surviving family members, friends, law enforcement colleagues, and others. Thousands more participated via a live webcast of the ceremony provided by the Memorial Fund and Officer.com.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. delivered poignant keynote remarks and led the lighting of candles and reading of the fallen officers’ names. “Although no words, and no ceremony, can erase the pain we feel at each tragic and untimely loss, my hope is that the families, friends, and colleagues of these fallen heroes can find peace in the certain knowledge that they died doing what they loved. They helped to make this world a far better, and safer, place,” he said. “And, despite the fact that these brave officers were taken from us far too suddenly – and far too soon – their legacies, and contributions, will always endure.”
Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and Madeline Neumann, National President of the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), also participated in the annual tribute to fallen officers, a special part of the National Police Week observance in the nation’s capital.
The evening’s program also included musical tributes and a special recognition of representatives of some of the Boston-area agencies that demonstrated an exceptionally high level of work as they captured the Boston Bombing suspect while protecting their communities. This included Director Robert Mueller of the FBI; Superintendent Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police; Superintendent Willie Gross of the Boston Police Department; and Chief Ed Deveau of the Watertown Police Department.
In addition to the 120 officers who died in 2012, the names of 201 officers—whose deaths had been lost to history until this year—were added to the Memorial. The national monument now contains the names of 19,981 fallen law enforcement officers—from all 50 states; the District of Columbia; U.S. territories; federal, corrections, railroad, and military police agencies—who have died in the performance of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known officer death in 1791.
“Tonight, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in law enforcement service. And we also pay tribute to the surviving family members who were left behind,” said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the non-profit group that maintains the Memorial and serves as a principal organizer of National Police Week each May. “Behind every name on these walls are stories and memories that burn brightly … tonight and every night—stories that inspire us and memories that cannot be extinguished. We will always remember these extraordinary American heroes,” he said.
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For more information, including the names of officers added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, visit www.LawMemorial.org/2013RollCall. Photos from the Candlelight Vigil are available at www.LawMemorial.org/Photos.
About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers and to promoting officer safety. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 19,981 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.