Justice News

Remarks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil
Saturday, May 13, 2017


Remarks as prepared for delivery


Thank you, Craig [Floyd], for the introduction, and for everything you do to ensure we honor our fallen law enforcement officers. And John Adler, our good friend. It is a great privilege for me to be here with all of you this evening.


We gather to mourn these heroes; to remember them; and to celebrate them. We mourn these fallen officers. We cannot avoid this stark truth. We are here because these men and women gave everything, gave their very lives — for us.


Each of these officers was more than just a name etched in stone on a memorial; they were persons who meant the whole world to someone — to a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or a child. We also remember these heroes — because that is our modest way of repaying a debt that can never be fully repaid. And we remember them so that years from now, others will learn their stories, and be inspired to follow their examples of selfless service.


Finally, we celebrate these heroes. How can we mourn our loss, yet also celebrate? Because after a time, the shadow of grief gives way to the brightness of gratitude. We give thanks for who these men and women were, and we celebrate what they did, and what they stood for.


We gather for this vigil on the National Mall, amid monuments and memorials to the statesmen who gave us the gift of liberty. But for this gift to endure, it must be an ordered liberty, secured by the rule of law. Our constitutional structure. And for the rule of law to be real, rather than an abstraction, we need brave men and women who are willing to defend and uphold it—on foreign battlefields and in our communities.


That is what these fallen heroes did for us. So tonight, we mourn their loss; we remember their stories; and we celebrate the gift of ordered liberty that they helped to secure. And lastly, to all those serving here I have a simple message for each of you: We have your back and you have our thanks.


I believe it is one of the highest callings of my job to call attention to your successes and encourage our fellow citizens to support you in your difficult and dangerous work. And as long as I am the Attorney General of the United States, the Department of Justice will have the back of all honest and honorable law enforcement officers.


May God bless the souls of those we honor tonight. May God bless each of you. And may God bless this wonderful country of ours.


Updated May 15, 2017