2019 Candlelight Vigil Ceremony Remembers Fallen Heroes
On an unseasonably cool evening in the nation’s capital, a profound stillness and calm presided over the National Mall. CBP law enforcement personnel joined with thousands of their law enforcement colleagues, family members and their most loyal supporters. They gathered together to remember their fallen brothers and sisters at a solemn ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The 31th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 13, honored 371 officers who died in the line of duty in 2018. Their names were added to the memorial wall. Among the names, this year's ceremony honored the life and sacrifice of CBP Intelligence Collection Operations Manager Christopher T. Bacon -- end of watch June 7, 2018.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan spoke at the vigil and emphasized the sacrifice made by the men and women being honored.
“This is one of the most solemn, important and inspirational annual observances honoring our law enforcement heroes. Tonight we honor and remember those that have lost their lives in the line of duty. We pay homage to their courage and their bravery. We remember their service and their example, and we seek to comfort and console their family and friends that they have left behind. We set this night aside, no matter our duties and responsibilities, and we make this pilgrimage to respect their memories and to express our humble gratitude for their sacrifice.”
Acting Secretary McAleenan remembered the heroes of 9/11 and the men and women who sacrificed their lives on that day.
“The agency that I’m honored to lead, the Department of Homeland Security, was created as the result of the deadliest day in law enforcement history. The end of watch came on September 11, 2001, for 72 officers – now names on the walls of the memorial – who died while responding to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City. Tonight we read the names of 371 officers being added to the memorial. This year, nine of them are from the Department of Homeland Security.”
The Candlelight Vigil culminated in the reading of the names added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall this year. The names were read state-by-state by federal, state and local officials, including Acting Secretary McAleenan, Attorney General William Barr and CBP Acting Commissioner John Sanders.
During the reading, the crowd lit their candles and held them aloft in a moving tribute to their fallen family members, friends and colleagues.
Acting Secretary McAleenan spoke directly to family and friends of the fallen and told them their sacrifices will not be forgotten either.
“We know that to you, the families and survivors, that they were not just officers, but husbands, wives, partners, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, colleagues and friends. They were the best of us. Behind every name engraved on the memorial wall are the officers loved ones, whose watch has not ended and whose grief endures. They visit the memorial to pay their respects, to leave tokens of remembrance and they live with the memory of the sacrifice their loved ones made.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.