In brief remarks to open the ceremony, President Barack Obama offered condolences to the survivors and thanks to the officers still serving. Reflecting on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial’s lions as symbols of law enforcement, the President said:
It is an honor roll engraved in stone not far from here, at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Guarding over the park – and the memories of Americans memorialized there – are four bronze lions. Beneath one is a verse from the Book of Proverbs I impart to you as a prayer: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” May God’s face shine upon the lions that we have lost. May He watch over the ones that guard us still. And may He bless, now and forever, the United States of America.
Following his remarks, President Obama was escorted to the Memorial Wreath by Chuck Canterbury, President of the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, and Beverly Crump, President of the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary. There, the President inserted a flower, the first of many that would be placed in the wreath by the surviving family members of each of the 123 officers remembered during today’s service.