Thousands Attend 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil

Despite being delayed by close to two hours by inclement weather, thousands were in attendance for the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night.

Watch the 2014 Candlelight Vigil

While the ceremony was set to begin at 8 p.m., weather pushed the event back to 9:45 p.m. with an estimated 20,000 people in attendance. The names of 286 law enforcement officers were formally dedicated on the walls of the memorial. Those honored included 100 officers killed in the line of duty in 2013 and 186 prior-year fatalities.

"The 20,267 fallen heroes, whose names embrace us this evening, came from different states, counties and towns across America. But they all wore the same Badge of Honor," Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said during the ceremony.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered keynote remarks and led the lighting of candles and reading of the fallen officers' names.

It is an honor to join you in expressing deep gratitude for another year of extraordinary achievements by our men and women in law enforcement, to thank you for your bravery and to pay tribute to those who are missing from this crowd tonight," Holder said.

"Across this great country and throughout our history, America's law enforcement officers have come to stand for all that every citizen should aspire to be. That is why we assemble to honor these brave men and women each year during National Police Week."

Madeline Neumann, National President of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), spoke to those in attendance about the importance of National Police Week and the need for survivors to come together.

"Out of many survivors, traveling a long, long path, comes one group of cops, standing united in support, fellowship and love," she said. " Grief is compromised of two parts, first the loss, and then rebuilding your shattered life. This is why you are here, and together we can do that."

Floyd took a moment to highlight the recovery of a severely injured police officer from Virginia and called his story one of great hope.

"At events like this, we often remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice or performed heroic deeds -- as well we should. But sometimes we forget to give proper recognition and support to those officers who have been disabled or seriously injured in the line of duty."

On Feb. 27, 2013 Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy was shot in the head during a traffic stop near a school. He suffered a catastrophic brain injury and faced a long road to recovery after fighting for his life in the hospital.

"Doctors said that most people would not have survived, but miraculously, Peter Laboy has done more than just survive. Described as 'Superman' by his friends and colleagues, he described his recovery in this way, he said 'I was not going to give up. I was going to keep fighting until I got better.'

"The last year for Peter and his family has not been easy. He has had to relearn just about everything and is now dealing with a 'new normal' in his life. But he is doing all of this with a smile on his face. His goal now in his own words is to 'just keep going forward.' "

Both Laboy and his wife, Suzanne, were on stage at the vigil and were greeted by Floyd.

The ceremony also featured musical tributes and a special recognition of survivors of fallen officers, as well as several dignitaries and guests.

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