Each spring the hundreds of officers from around the country that are killed in the line of duty are honored in the nation's capital at a special candlelight vigil. This year two Western Mass officers' names were added to the memorial.
The sounds of Amazing Grace filled the air at the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Monday, as onlookers and those honoring friends, coworkers and family gathered around.
Each of the 19,000 names of fallen officers that line the marble walls is a solemn reminder of their ultimate sacrifice. Two of the names on the wall hit close to home, Springfield Officer Kevin Ambrose and Westfield Officer Jose Torres.
"That's why we're here, to never forget our loved ones and to give tribute," said Doris Beauregard-Shecrallah.
Beauregard Shecrallah lost her husband Alain in 1985 when he was killed on duty. For decades she's worked for Concerns of Police Survivors or COPS, helping families that are going through the painful trials that she endured.
"The families are here to get the support that they need from us, from other survivors who have been in their shoes," said Beauregard-Shecrallah.
Two of those families are the Ambroses and the Torres.
Their names were added to this wall. Every year during police week, thousands of officers and their families come back here to trace names of their loved ones on paper, leave flowers and reconnect with other survivors.
"Your first year, you're pretty much here for your own officer, for your department," said Liz Bennett of Granby, CT. "The more you come, the more you realize it's not just about you; you have support here from tens of thousands of other cops."
In the words of one survivor etched on the memorial, "It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived."
Doris says she remembers that every time she comes back here.
"To see the different families that are at the wall, and the officers and the tribute that is given to these men and women who are heroes, and we can't forget that," said Beauregard-Shecrallah.
Ambrose was shot and killed in the line of duty last June while responding to a domestic dispute call. Torres was struck by a truck last July while working a traffic detail on Pontoosic Road in Westfield.
The candlelight vigil was held at 8 p.m. Monday evening.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial located in the center of 400 block of E Street, NW, Washington, DC, is the nation's monument to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
The memorial was dedicated in 1991 and honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation and its people.
The memorial features two, 304-foot-long blue-gray marble walls where the names of more than 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty are carved.
The wall includes fallen officers throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791.
Unlike many other memorials in Washington, DC, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is ever-changing. New names of fallen officers are added to the monument each spring, as a part of National Police Week.
The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there is no charge to visit.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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