Candlelight Vigil Memorializes Law Enforcement’s Fallen
A thin blue line of light beamed above thousands of people during a candlelight vigil May 13 to honor the 273 fallen law enforcement officers – including two from U.S. Customs and Border Protection – whose names were added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke to the audience of law enforcement survivors and officers to recognize the fallen and comfort their loved ones.
The 20,538 names inscribed on the memorial represent officers who “knew the dangers of their profession, yet were determined to serve their fellow citizens,” said Attorney General Lynch. “In the hearts of all gathered here, the light they brought continues to shine.”
“The actions we take will make a living monument to their service,” she added.
Secretary Johnson introduced his special guest, Lt. Heather Sylve from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in New Orleans. In March 2015, a man brandishing a machete at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport came within inches of a Transportation Security Administration officer when Lt. Sylve fired three shots, killing the attacker. The Secretary noted how her actions affected him personally by saving one of his DHS employees.
When a law enforcement officer falls, his or her unit pulls together like a family “that supports and protects each other in life and grieves with each other in death,” said Secretary Johnson. “To those who lost a loved one in the line of duty, we will always be your family…we will never stop honoring your loved one.”
During the reading of the names of the fallen added to the memorial – 117 who died in 2014 and 156 belatedly added from prior years – Commissioner Kerlikowske stepped forward to announce the names of CBP’s own: Border Patrol Agents Tyler R. Robledo and Alexander I. Giannini. The names on the memorial, which was dedicated in 1991, date back to the first known law enforcement death in the line of duty in 1791.
Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, noted that all remembered on the memorial walls “chose to help those in need and put the welfare of others above their own…no profession is more committed to the principle that all lives matter.”