As dusk turned into night on a crisp, cloudy Saturday night in the nation’s capital, CBP officers and agents joined with thousands of their law enforcement colleagues, family members and their most ardent supporters to remember their fallen brothers and sisters.
The 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 13, honored 394 officers who died in the line of duty. Their names were added to the memorial wall.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was among the speakers at the event. He reminded the crowd that the department he leads was born from the ultimate sacrifice of law enforcement officers.
“DHS was born out of the deadliest day in law enforcement history, Sept. 11, 2001,” said Secretary Kelly.
Kelly said that the men and women who choose law enforcement for a profession are a special group. “It means putting the welfare of others before your own,” he said.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also spoke at the vigil and reinforced the message of sacrifice.
“We mourn these fallen officers. We cannot avoid this dark truth,” Sessions said. “We are here because these men and women gave everything, gave their very lives, for us.” He added, “There is no better way for us to honor the fallen than to stop the falling.”
The Candlelight Vigil culminated in the reading of the 394 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 Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. During the reading, the crowd lit their candles and held them aloft in a moving tribute to their lost family members, friends and colleagues.