Thousands of law enforcement officers came today to Washington, D.C., from all 50 United States and several foreign countries, joining officers and agents from Customs and Border Protection and other Department of Homeland Security components to honor officers who died in the line of duty in 2011.
Photo Credit:James Tourtellotte
President Barack Obama addressed the assembly at the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the west front of the U.S. Capitol, with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and acting CBP Commissioner David V. Aguilar in attendance.
"Our country's law enforcement officers use force when they have to," said Obama. "They are well armed and they are well trained, but they never forget that theirs is a mission of peace."
"You come from different states and different backgrounds and different walks of life, but I know that you come here as a community: one family, united by a quiet strength and a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of others," the president added.
"We are forever in your debt. And it is on behalf of all of us, the entire American people, that I offer my thoughts, my prayers and my thanks," said Obama.
The event included a roll call of those officers fallen in 2011, including CBP U.S. Border Patrol Agents Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas Jr.
The annual May 15 event, begun in 1982, is sponsored by the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police with the stated purpose, "Never let them walk alone."