FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

More Than 20,000 Gather for Candlelight Vigil at National Officer Memorial

May 13, 2010  | 


Photo courtesy of NLEOMF.

Tonight more than 20,000 officers, police survivors, dignitaries, and invited guests participated in a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The annual ceremony honors officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

This year, the vigil included the reading of 334 names of officers who have been added to the memorial walls, including 116 who ended watch in 2009.

Dignitaries attending the vigil included Attorney General Eric Holder who gave the keynote and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who gave a brief speech. Holder began his remarks by saying, "I am honored to be here, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pay my respects to so many fallen heroes … We are all safer for their sacrifice."

The evening began with the story of a fallen officer being told by Craig Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). John Coor-Pender of the Wayne County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office was killed escorting a prisoner, in 1816. Floyd said the story was a reminder of the sacrifices made by American law enforcement officers throughout the nation's history.

Floyd read off a litany of statistics to prove that the law enforcement profession remains extremely hazardous. "One law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty in this country every 53 hours," he said. Last year 116 officers died in the line of duty and 16,000 were injured. Floyd added that there was a 23 percent increase in officer deaths by gunfire in 2009. "America's law enforcement has never been more challenged nor more vital," he said.

Much more powerful than any of the speeches by Holder, Napolitano, or Floyd were the simple heartfelt moments of the vigil. Floyd introduced the crowd to young Cody Lassiter whose father Larry Lassiter was a Pittsburg, Calif., officer who was killed before Cody was born. Watching Cody and his mother react to the mention of their loved one and his sacrifice was enough to bring  a tear to the eyes of many of the veteran cops in the audience.

The pain felt by loved ones who lose officers to the hazards of the job was also the theme of an emotional speech by Jennifer Thacker, president of Concerns of Police Survivors. Thacker talked about the "painful absence" experienced by survivors and she said that the people gathered for the vigil were there to shine some light on the "dark path" of the survivors' grief.

Thacker's presentation was followed by the candlelight ceremony and the reading of the names of the officers whose names had just been engraved into the memorial walls. Each name was read loud and clear as the wind whipped across the memorial plaza and the crowd sat and contemplated the sacrifice of each officer.

Cantor Michael A. Shochet of the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department had summed up the feeling of all in attendance in an invocation at the beginning of the ceremony when he said, "Any additional name on this wall is one too many."

—David Griffith

Related:

National Police Week: Candlelight Vigil (photo gallery)

National Police Week: What They Left Behind (photo gallery)

National Police Week: Vigil Video

Tags: Officer Memorials, National Police Week, NLEOMF


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Morning Eagle @ 5/14/2010 11:50 AM

Thank you Police Magazine from those of us who could not attend these ceremonies. Many of us knew and served with one or more of the individuals behind those names carved upon that wall and we will never forget them.

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Video: NYPD Says Hatchet Attack an Act of Terror
A broad-daylight hatchet assault on a group of New York police officers -- leaving one...
Update: 2 California Deputies Killed in Shooting Spree
Sacramento County, Calif., Sheriff’s Dep. Danny Oliver was killed in this morning's...
Lenco Bearcat Played Critical Role in Stockton Robbery, Hostage Response
Lenco Industries, Inc., has announced that the City of Stockton, Calif.’s BearCat tactical...
Video: NYC Hatchet-wielding Attacker Might Have Terrorism Ties
The NYPD has issued a patrol bulletin alerting officers to be in a state of heightened...
DOJ Condemns Leaks of Ferguson Shooting Evidence
New details from the inquiry into Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death — all provided by...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine