The names of 394 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty—including 143 who died in 2016—were formally dedicated on Saturday evening, during the 29th annual Candlelight Vigil, held on the National Mall and produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly delivered poignant remarks. The Attorney General then commenced the reading of the fallen officers’ names. Later in the program Attorney General Sessions and Concerns of Police Survivors National President Brenda Donner 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 a special recognition of survivors of fallen officers. The event concluded with the lighting of candles and a dramatic blue light show.
In addition to the 143 officers who died in 2016, the names of 251 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 21,183 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, dating back to the first known officer death in 1791.
“We gather tonight on the National Mall, under the shadows of two of this city’s most recognizable monuments, joined by the need and desire, the privilege, to honor the 21,183 names on the sacred Memorial walls,” said Craig W. Floyd, President & CEO of the Memorial Fund. “We dedicate the names of the 394 officers added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, recognizing the sacrifices these men and women made to protect their country and communities.”
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 and Officer.com. Supporters dedicated virtual candles participating in the Memorial Fund’s United By Light campaign, with viewing events hosted across the country.
For the fourth year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor and iHeartRadio to raise awareness across the country by honoring these fallen officers, as well as raise awareness about the annual Candlelight Vigil and United By Light virtual candle wall. Clear Channel Outdoor displayed beautiful tributes to these officers and the virtual candle wall while iHeartRadio ran public service announcements across more than 850 stations to help raise awareness for the campaign and National Police Week.
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/2017RollCall.