CBP Honors Fallen Officers at the 2010 Blue Mass
Units of law enforcement personnel - dressed in blue, brown, tan and green - lined the streets of Washington, D.C. yesterday to honor their own. All saluted
as 14 honor guards representing federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies passed in formation under a giant American flag as pipe and drum players kept time.
Thus began the 16th Annual Blue Mass, hosted by St. Patrick Church and the Archdiocese of Washington. The purpose: to honor the 116 law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty in 2009 and pay special tribute to nine of those officers from Washington, D.C., agencies, including two from the CBP Office of Border Patrol. The mass is the first event of the 2010 National Police Week, a series of observances organized in part by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Honor guards representing CBP's three uniformed branches participated in the procession. The Field Operations team came from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Border Patrol honor guard traveled from El Paso and
on May 14 will compete as one of 12 national finalists in the Annual Honor Guard Competition. The Air and Marine crew traveled from five states and Puerto Rico to pay tribute.
CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin and leaders from the CBP uniformed services attended the service, which filled the church. During the mass, Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl spoke to the assembled law enforcers of "the quiet, implicit and real understanding that you are expected to be called to place yourself in harm's way. And that happens."
But "because of that, because of you," the rest of society can live in peace, said Wuerl.
During the reading of the names of the nine fallen officers from local agencies, the honor guards for each raised the colors in tribute. The Border Patrol honor guard stood for Senior Patrol Agent Cruz McGuire, who died May 21, 2009, and Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas Jr., who
died July 23, 2009. The Air and Marine honor guard volunteered to serve the tribute for Chadwick Carr, an investigator from the Greene County, Va., Sheriff's Office, whose colleagues could not be present for the honor.
"To have someone represent each of the fallen, that's what's important," said Dan Diette, an Air and Marine enforcement aviation specialist and commander of the honor guard.
"It's great to see all of the different agencies be part of this together," said Marcos Brito, a supervisory Border Patrol agent detailed from El Paso.
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.