U.S. Customs and Border Protection held the Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza in Washington, D.C. The ceremony honored five Border Patrol agents who died in the line of duty during 2012 protecting the U.S., as well as the men and women of CBP and its legacy agencies who previously gave their lives while serving their country.
CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski hosted the ceremony and introduced Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the keynote speaker. The Secretary addressed the CBP employees, families and invited guests gathered to honor Leopoldo Cavazos Jr., James R. Dominguez, Jeffrey Ramirez, Nicholas J. Ivie and David R. Delaney, whose names were unveiled on the Valor Memorial during the ceremony.
CBP's Valor Memorial was created to honor the men and women of CBP and its legacy agencies who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The inscription on the memorial reads: "In honor of the officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and predecessor agencies who faithfully performed their duties and sacrificed their lives in protecting the borders, commerce and people of the United States of America."
"Each year, we gather for the Valor Memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the service and the sacrifice of our CBP officers and agents killed in the line of duty," said Napolitano. "Let us all remember that these men answered the call when their nation needed them. We will never forget the legacies of the agents."
Those We Honor
Names added to the CBP Valor Memorial in 2013:
- On July 6, 2012, Border Patrol Agent Leopoldo Cavazos Jr., 29, died from injuries sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident near the Fort Hancock, Texas, Port of Entry.
- On July 19, 2012, Border Patrol Agent James R. Dominguez, 29, succumbed to injuries suffered when he was struck by a passing vehicle along Highway 90 near Cline, Texas, while helping a disabled motorist remove debris from the roadway.
- On September 15, 2012, Border Patrol Agent Jeffrey Ramirez died at the age of 25 after being hospitalized on August 22nd as a result of a heat-related illness incurred during training.
- On October 2, 2012, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, 30, was mortally wounded while patrolling near Bisbee, Ariz.
- On November 2, 2012, Border Patrol Agent David R. Delaney, 44, collapsed and died while patrolling near Big Bend National Park in Texas.
With many family members of the five fallen Border Patrol agents present, Acting Commissioner Winkowski spoke reverently of the lives each of them led.
"There's an old police saying that we always lose the best and the most promising," said Winkowski. "We lose the best because they are the leaders. They are the ones out front; the ones willing to step forward to take on the risks of the most difficult assignments. In every respect, those we honor today are worthy of our highest praise for their dedication to duty and service to their country."
The event was attended by headquarters employees, the general public, as well as representatives from other law enforcement agencies.
CBP's Valor Memorial Ceremony takes place during National Police Week, held annually in Washington, D.C. CBP personnel attended and participated in many National Police Week events including the Annual Blue Mass, the 25th Annual Candlelight Vigil, the 11th Annual Honor Guard Competition, the 19th Annual Emerald Society & Pipe and Drum Service and the 32nd Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service.
"National Police Week is a special time of reflection for all of us in law enforcement," said Winkowski. "It is a time when we pause to pay respect to the men and women who defend our nation. This week-and all it represents-is a poignant reminder of the tremendous price we pay to protect freedom and the dream that is America."