11:25 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Linda, for that.
Mr. President, members of the Cabinet, distinguished members of Congress, honored guests, members of the law enforcement community, and the precious families of our peace officers whose memory and sacrifice we honor today: It’s an honor to be with you all.
It is National Police Week. And I am deeply humbled to join so many courageous men and women of law enforcement, and especially the families of our fallen, at this, the 37th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. You honor us by your presence here today.
To the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police, to all those who serve on the Thin Blue Line of law enforcement — sheriffs, deputies, marshals, and detectives — and to all who have traveled from near and far to gather here at our nation’s capital, we are honored by your presence on this sacred day of remembrance.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared this day as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and this week as National Police Week. And every year since 1982, members of our law enforcement community, their families, and friends have gathered on this day, in Washington, D.C., in solemn memorial services all across the country to mourn the fallen, to honor their sacrifice, and to rededicate ourselves to stand with those who protect our families and our communities every day.
Last year, President Trump and I were honored to stand before this extraordinary gathering. And President Trump promised on that day, in this administration, as he said, and I quote, “We will always support the incredible men and women of law enforcement,” and that is precisely what President Donald Trump has done. (Applause.)
In the past year, we’ve taken decisive action to give additional tools, funding, and equipment to those of you who protect and serve. And as the nation has witnessed time and time again, this President has made it clear to the men and women of law enforcement and their families that we are with you. We stand with you. And with President Donald Trump in the White House, we will always give those who serve on the Thin Blue Line of law enforcement the honor and the respect that you earn every single day. (Applause.)
But as all of you know, and as this day of remembrance so vividly reminds us, there is much hardship in your calling and there is much work to be done to ensure the safety and security of men and women that serve in law enforcement.
This year alone, we’ve seen attacks on law enforcement officers that have claimed the lives of 28 heroes. Soon, these names will join those of 199 peace officers who fell in the line of duty last year. We remember, and memorialize, and pray for them today.
And all their names will be added to a long line of heroes, more than 21,000 strong, who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the lives and liberties of their fellow Americans. These names, like those that have gone before, will forever be etched into those two marble walls at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. But be assured, these names will also be forever etched into the hearts of the American people.
Those of you who wear the uniform, walk a beat, enforce our laws every day, know these are not numbers. They were your partners, your friends; you know their families, and you know of the lives that have been shattered.
The fallen heroes we remember today all answered the same call of duty to protect and serve. Their hearts were filled with the same selfless courage, written of long ago, that, “No greater love has a man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.”
Today, and any day that America loses one of our heroes in law enforcement, we mourn with those who mourn, and we grieve with those who grieve. But we do not grieve like those that have no hope, for your heroes give us hope. The heroes that we honor today, all the men and women of law enforcement gathered here, those looking on from across the country are our heroes.
You are the peace keepers, the shield for the innocent and vulnerable, the guardians standing between us and violence and lawlessness. And the American people are grateful every day.
Your courage strikes fear into the hearts of those who would do harm. Your sacrifice fills law-abiding citizens with confidence, and pride, and gratitude. And your presence wherever you are, day or night, makes our communities stronger, our streets safer, and our nation more secure.
You are the best of us. And the debt our nation owes to the men and women who serve every day in law enforcement and their families is a debt we can never fully repay. But know this: Under President Donald Trump, we will always fight for you. We will always support you. And we will never stop striving to be worthy of your noble example of service and sacrifice.
And with the selfless dedication of America’s peace officers, and the leadership of this President, and with God’s help, I know we will make America safe again.
May God comfort the families of the fallen. May God bless each of you as you protect and serve. And may God bless the United States of America. It is an honor to be with you all. (Applause.)
11:32 A.M. EDT