WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees, leadership, family members of ICE fallen officers and distinguished guests, including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson and DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 12 and gave a moving tribute to law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
The ICE Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony coincided with National Police Week, an annual event established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962 as a way to honor fallen law enforcement officers, began with the posting of colors by the ICE Honor Guard. Bradley E. White sang the national anthem, and Reverend Monsignor Salvatore Criscuolo gave the invocation.
In his remarks, ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Winkowski said, "Each year, we gather together to honor those in law enforcement who died in the line of duty. This is a time for us to reflect and remember the federal agents and officers who lost their lives while protecting us, our families and the people of this great nation."
Winkowski acknowledged Karen Donnelly, sister of fallen Customs Agent Roger Von Amelunxen and Dorene Kulpa-Friedli, widow of ICE fallen officer Gary P. Friedli, who attended the ceremony and also participated by placing a rose in their fallen loved one's name in front of the ICE ceremonial wreath.
"We thank the families of our fallen heroes," said Winkowski. "We will never forget the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters and children who keep their loved ones alive by sharing their memories with us."
Secretary Johnson also addressed attendees, saying, "We honor the memory of your loved one with the permanent memorial like the one you see here. Their memory and their sacrifice will be enshrined forever in this monument. We return here once a year to remember them at this site." The Secretary continued, saying to families of fallen officers, "As the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the deputy secretary and I pledge to be there for you, to always support you and to always honor the memory of your family member."
A roll call of ICE fallen officers was followed by the playing of Taps by John D. Nelson. Bagpipers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and ICE played Amazing Grace.
The ceremony closed with the benediction by Rev. Crisuolo. Richard Schuck, deputy chief of staff, protocol and special events at ICE, who officiated at the ceremony, urged guests to take a moment to reflect upon the sacrifice of many while walking around the wall of honor.