The last few buses have dropped off survivors at the Memorial. The Memorial grounds are packed, with an overflow crowd filling E Street and the courhouse plaza across the street. The Vigil is about to begin.
The risers set aside for the news media are completely full. Crews from CNN, NBC Network News, as well as media representatives from Seattle, Tampa (FL), Pittsburgh, the San Francisco Bay Area and, of course, DC are here to cover this national ceremony to honor America’s law enforcement heroes.
Buses carrying survivors of the fallen officers continue to roll up E Street to the Memorial. Lining the Reflecting Pool are lines of crisply dressed officers from across the country. As survivors depart the buses they are greeted by an officer, given a rose and escorted to their seats, front and center in the central pavillion in front of the stage.
Prior to being elected to Congress six years ago, Dave Reichart spent three decades in law enforcement with the Pierce County (WA) Sheriff’s Office, becoming elected sheriff in 1997. This evening at the Memorial, he stopped to greet officers and family members from the Seattle area. Washington state lost seven officers in the line of duty during 2009, the third highest among the states. One of those officers was Pierce County Deputy Walter Kent Mundell Jr., who had the unfortunate distinction of being the last officer to die in the line of duty in 2009.