Today is the 51st anniversary of National Peace Officers Memorial Day and day three of our Police Week recognition activities. Our recognition today focuses on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is our nation’s monument to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the Memorial 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 curving, 304-foot-long blue-gray marble walls. Carved on these walls are the names of 19,981 officers who have been killed in the line of duty 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, in conjunction with National Police Week.
The Memorial sits on three acres of federal park land in an area of Washington, DC called Judiciary Square. The Memorial’s central plaza features an intricate paving pattern and a bronze medallion with the Memorial Fund logo: a blue shield with a red rose draped across it.
Bordering the Memorial’s beautifully landscaped park are the two tree-lined "pathways of remembrance" where the names of the fallen officers are engraved. Each of the pathway entrances is adorned with a powerful statuary grouping of an adult lion protecting its cubs, symbolizing the protective role of law enforcement officers and conveying the strength, courage and valor that are hallmarks of those who serve and protect. The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there is no charge to visit.