WASHINGTON, D.C. – The official events of National Police Week are over.
However, the tributes, respect and reverence paid to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice continued at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Judiciary Square.
The wall bearing the names of fallen heroes are adorned with badges, wedding pictures, photographs of officers with their families, framed newspaper articles and funeral pamphlets. There were cans of soft drinks and six packs of beer.
And, for days thousands of visitors stopped to read the letters, the articles and the special messages printed in crayon.
Some of those mementos will be saved, and become part of the revolving display at the National Law Enforcement Museum, according to Steve Groeninger, Senior Director of Communications.
Groeninger said thousands attended the various official events honoring the fallen heroes, adding that the honor continues long after the crowds leave. The memorial is visited by tourists and law enforcement officers year round.
Hillside, N.J. Police Detective Lt. Richard Floyd and Patrolman Francisco Vega visited the wall for the first time on Wednesday.
They came early for another event so they could spend time at the wall where the names of two of their officers are etched. “We lost two over the years – Thomas England was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1932 and Anthony Lordi, who was shot in 1979,” Floyd said. “Hopefully, that’s all…”
Both officers said they were overwhelmed by the memorial, and the personal items. “I’m in sheer amazement at the amount of names on the wall. And, I’m angry by the number of officers killed in the line of duty,” he added.
Others making a solemn walk were several retired Chicago police officers, who’ve attended countless trips to the memorial.
More than 80 retired Chicago officers attended this year’s tribute to stand alongside active members, said Dan Dugan.
The number of active-duty Chicago officers was down because the city cancelled leave as the department prepared for both the G8 and NATO summits.
By the time the G8 was moved to Maryland in March, airfare and hotel prices had increased significantly. That’s when more retirees stepped up to the plate, Dugan said.
Retired Chicago Officer Al Piantkowski said over the years officers from Los Angeles and Chicago have developed a bond.
“We line up facing each other. When the survivors come out from the candlelight vigil, we’re the first ones they see.”
It’s the least they can do, they say, to show respect.
Rondetta Trammell fought tears as she spoke about her nephew, Sandusky, Ohio Officer Andrew S. Dunn, who was shot last March while questioning a suspect.
“The tributes were very fitting,” she said. “I had no idea…”
Dunn was the father of two sons, four and 18 months.
“He was killed eight days after his 30th birthday.”