31st Annual Candlelight Vigil Honored 371 Fallen Peace Officers at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

Attorney General William Barr leads the lighting of candles and reading of fallen officers’ names, including 158 officers killed in the line of duty in 2018 and 213 prior-year fatalities

Washington, DC—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.

Candlelight Vigil 2017_Newsletter_June
Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall

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 LawMemorial.org/2019RollCall.

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About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 21,910 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund has opened the new National Law Enforcement Museum, which tells the story of American law enforcement by providing visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience. The Museum is working to expand and enrich the relationship shared by law enforcement and the community through the Museum’s educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs. For more information, visit LawMemorial.org.

Robyn Small
rsmall@nleomf.org
(202) 737-8524