Thousands of candles lit up the night sky at the National Mall in Washington DC on Thursday evening in honor of the fallen law enforcement officers.
More than 4,000 law enforcement personnel and their families attended the candlelight vigil, which paid tribute to 701 officers who died in the line of duty in previous years, including 434 who died in 2019 and 2020.
“Today we recognize the nobility of the law enforcement profession. We honor and remember those who have lost their lives sacrificing the safety of our communities,” Internal security said Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
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The names of 701 fallen officers have been added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. They will be etched forever on the walls of the memorial and are now among the 22,611 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty throughout United States history.
âWe are gathered here today to honor those seven hundred and one fallen officers whose names have been added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. We come together because to mourn, remember and honor those we have lost means more. when we can do it together. I am honored to be here in person with you on this occasion, “said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Garland said any call could be an officer’s last. He referred to DEA Special Agent Michael Garbo as well as Senior Inspector and Deputy US Marshal Jared Keyworth, both of whom recently “made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.” , did he declare.
Garbo was killed this month after gunshots erupted at an Amtrak station in Tucson, Ariz., As a task force made up of local and federal law enforcement agencies carried out a routine train checks for illegal weapons, drugs, cash and other items.
Keyworth died last month in a car accident while responding to a criminal offender case near Florence, Mississippi, according to reports.
âYet despite these risks, you run into danger to protect the public from harm. Your extraordinary courage and dedication is an inspiration to all of us,â Garland said.
As the pandemic spread last year, law enforcement and first responders continued to work on the streets. About two-thirds of those who died in the line of duty last year were COVID-related deaths, Garland said.
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âThrough it all, and despite the increased risks to your health and safety, you have continued to protect the communities you serve,â he added. âAnd as we gather here today, we also know that we continue to face many other challenges besides the pandemic. “
In addition to the virus, Garland discussed the dangers and challenges for law enforcement as violent crime and gun violence continue to rise in the United States.
âThe opioid epidemic and the threat of fentanyl endanger all of our communities and Internet crime, especially online child sexual exploitation, has reached historic levels,â he added. “To many, these challenges may seem overwhelming, but not to you.”
During the vigil, Mayorkas discussed his feelings towards law enforcement when his parents took him to America. He said it “meant everything” to his parents to see a police officer or sheriff knowing they were risking their lives to protect and serve the public.
From the age of 12, he said his mother would tell him to approach an officer, shake his hand and say ‘thank you’.
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âReverence for the men and women of law enforcement is still part of me today,â he said. âSo be it with our whole nation.