Law enforcement officers from across the United States are in Washington to remember their fallen colleagues. President Bush joined them at a memorial service Sunday for those killed in the line of duty.
One by one, the names were slowly read - each one mourned by a family, friends, and fellow officers.
On this day, the lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol Building was a field of blue, green, tan and black uniforms. President Bush said the men and women who wear them serve in a common cause - the cause of justice. "We are a nation built on the rule of law. And the men and women who enforce those laws uphold America's role as a beacon for fairness and peace," he said.
There were 156 law enforcement officers killed in the United States in 2004. They included neighborhood police in cities and towns in more than 30 states, as well as members of the U.S. border patrol, and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. In honoring their lives, President Bush said America must never take those who wear the badge for granted. "Every generation of Americans has produced men and women willing to stand watch for the rest of us," he said. "Every generation has lived under the protection of law enforcement."
About 10,000 people attended the service. Chuck Canterbury - who heads a national organization of police officers [The Fraternal Order of Police] - spoke for them all. "We honor our fallen brothers and sisters best by our actions. Doing our duty as they did their own, we honor them here today not because they died, but because they lived," he said.
Several members of Mr. Bush's cabinet joined the president on the speaker's platform. President Bush kept his own formal remarks fairly brief. But when he was done, he spent almost two hours in a light rain, going from one family to the next to pay his respects. The names of their loved ones will now be inscribed in the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a few blocks from the Capitol dome.