Candlelight Vigil Ceremony Remembers Fallen Heroes
As dusk settled over the nation’s capital on a crisp, cloudy Sunday evening in Washington, D.C., CBP law enforcement personnel joined with thousands of their law enforcement colleagues, family members and their most ardent supporters to remember their fallen brothers and sisters.
The 30th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 13, honored 360 officers who died in the line of duty. Their names were added to the memorial wall.
Former U.S. Attorney General and current Chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund John Ashcroft provided the opening remarks at the event. He said there is a steep price paid by law enforcement who ensure America’s freedoms.
“It is our sacred duty to honor the fallen by stopping the falling,” said Ashcroft. “We each in our own way can encourage law enforcement and help protect them by building a better understanding. We can begin by respecting the law and restoring the respect for the rule of law in our nation.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also spoke at the vigil and reinforced the message of sacrifice.
“Tonight we remember our fallen heroes. We mourn their loss, and we rededicate our lives to preserving, protecting and defending our principles of order and constitutional liberty that serve us so well – uniquely among the entire world.”
The Candlelight Vigil culminated in the reading of the 360 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 CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
Commissioner McAleenan read the names of the fallen from CBP added to the Memorial Wall this year. On August 17, 1995, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Lawrence B. Pierce witnessed an altercation where a man was stabbed to death. Agent Pierce chased down the killer, identified himself as a law enforcement officer, and while attempting to disarm the killer, suffered wounds that resulted in his death. Border Patrol Agent Isaac Morales passed away on May 24, 2017, in El Paso, Texas, after he confronted an assailant with a knife. On Nov.19, 2017, Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died from injuries from an incident still under investigation in the Big Bend Sector area of operation.
During the reading, the crowd lit their candles and held them aloft in a moving tribute to their lost family members, friends and colleagues.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.