WASHINGTON, May 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The names of 252 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty—including 123 who died in 2015—were formally dedicated on Friday evening, during the 28th annual Candlelight Vigil, held on the National Mall and produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered poignant remarks. Attorney General Lynch and Concerns of Police Survivors National President Brenda Donner led the lighting of candles. Later in the program Attorney General Lynch commenced the reading of the fallen officers' names.
This 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, as well as some dignitaries and guests.
In addition to the 123 officers who died in 2015, the names of 129 officers, who died in prior years, were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The national monument now contains the names of 20,789 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.
"The 20,789 fallen heroes, whose names are inscribed on the Memorial walls, came from different states, counties and towns across America," said Craig W. Floyd, President & CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "And tonight as we formally dedicate the names of these men and women; we honor their courage and we salute their sacrifice."
An estimated 20,000 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 third year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor and iHeartRadio to raise awareness across the country to honor 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 its 858 station 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 Bill 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/2016RollCall. Photos from the Candlelight Vigil are available at www.LawMemorial.org/Photos.
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 20,789 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund has begun construction of the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's National Police Week events and activities are supported, in part, by a generous contribution from Target®.
SOURCE National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund