President Donald Trump gave a rambling but emotional speech praising fallen law enforcement officers and their families during the 37th Annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
Speaking from the steps of the White House, Trump spoke of his strong support for law enforcement and pledged that he nor America would forget the sacrifices of officers who died protecting the public and the survivors they left behind.
He said the fallen officers are “among the bravest of Americans to ever live. They did not flinch. They did not falter. They faced down evil.”
Throughout much of Trump’s speech he spoke to the children and family members of fallen officers. He spoke directly to several families in attendance, including:
* The family of Lt. Aaron Allan of the Southport (IN) Police Department. Allan was killed in July 2017 when he was shot responding to a vehicle accident. Trump spoke of how well loved and respected Allan was in his community for both his service as an officer and his charity work for children in need.
* The family of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Charleston Hartfield. Hartfield was killed trying to help the wounded and direct people to safety during the October 2017 Las Vegas Concert Massacre. He was off duty when he was killed. “He gave his life so that countless others may live,” Trump said.
* The family of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez. Martinez was found dead in a culvert near Van Horn, TX, in November 2017. The cause of death remains a mystery, though the FBI has said it was not homicide. Martinez’ partner was injured in the same incident but has not been able to tell investigators what happened. Trump said Martinez’ “unselfish love of country is an inspiration to all Americans.”
After honoring these officers and their survivors, Trump spoke about the tragedy of officers being ambushed and killed just for wearing a uniform. He said he has ordered the Department of Justice to do “everything possible to defend the lives of police officers.”
The discussion of officers killed in ambush led to the most emotional moments of the speech. In what appeared to be an unplanned move, the President called the family of slain NYPD officer Miosotis Familia to the speakers stage. Familia was ambushed in her police vehicle and killed in July 2017.
The three children of the slain NYPD officer and her 92-year-old mother appeared stunned as Trump shook their hands, hugged them, kissed them on their cheeks, and praised their loved one for her dedication to serving the people of New York. Trump admitted that as a New Yorker the NYPD is “near and dear to his heart.”
Ending his speech, Trump asked all the families of the fallen who were in attendance to stand. He told them that the loss of their loved ones was a loss for all Americans. “America lost incredible heroes. They will endure forever in our hearts,” he said.—David Griffith