The names of 371 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty — including 158 who died in 2018 — were formally dedicated on Monday evening, during the 31st Annual Candlelight Vigil, held on the National Mall and produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Memorial Fund Chairman John Ashcroft delivered poignant remarks. The Attorney General then commenced the reading of the fallen officers’ names. Later in the program Attorney General Barr and Concerns of Police Survivors National President Cheryl Schultz led the lighting of candles.
The Candlelight Vigil—an annual tribute to our nation’s law enforcement officers—has become a signature event of the National Police Week observance in the nation’s capital. The evening’s program also featured moving musical tributes and special recognition of survivors of fallen officers. The event concluded with the lighting of candles.
In addition to the 158 officers who died in 2018, the names of 213 officers, who died in prior years, were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this spring. The national monument now contains the names of 21,910 fallen law enforcement officers—from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, federal, corrections, railroad, and military police agencies—who died in the performance of duty throughout U.S. history. The oldest historical death now engraved on the Memorial is that of Chesterfield County (VA) Sheriff Benjamin Branch whose end of watch was April 29, 1786.
“Tonight we embrace the names of 21,910 fallen heroes and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in safer communities,” said Lori Sharpe Day, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “And we honor the courage of these brave men and women as we formally dedicate their names on the Memorial walls.”
An estimated 30,000 people attended the ceremony in person, including surviving family members, friends, law enforcement colleagues, and others. Thousands more participated via a live webcast of the ceremony provided by the Memorial Fund with viewing events across the country. Supporters dedicated virtual candles participating in the Memorial Fund’s United By Light/Light a Virtual Candle campaign.
Note: In tribute to American law enforcement officers, as part of the historic crime bill that President Clinton signed into law in 1994, Public Law 103-322 designates Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15) as one of only two days each year during which government agencies, businesses, and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half-staff. The other is Memorial Day.
For more information, including the names of officers added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, visit www.LawMemorial.org/2019RollCall.
Information provided by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund