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Up to 45,000 to gather for National Police Week. (Patch file photo by Todd Richissin.)
Up to 45,000 to gather for National Police Week. (Patch file photo by Todd Richissin.)

Tens of thousands of law officers from the United States and beyond its shores are gathering in Washington for National Police Week, part of an annual pilgrimage to honor the fallen among their ranks.

The focal point for the week is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a courtyard bordered by two gently sloping, 304-foot-long, three-foot-high walls that bear the engraved names of more than 19,000 officers killed in the line of duty.

Most of the names added this year are officers who died in 2013; others are officers whose sacrifice had previously been lost to history.

This year, 286 names were added to that wall, including those from Virginia, joining the 489 from the Commonwealth already engraved.

Among those from Virginia whose names were added:

  • Master Trooper J.A. Walker, Virginia State Police: shot and killed after stopping for what he believed to be a disabled vehicle on southbound I-85, near mile marker 45, in Dinwiddie County on March 7, 2013, at approximately 1:30 pm.

  • Deputy Sheriff Billy Ray Grimsley, Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office: succumbed to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on December 7th, 2012, after representing his agency in the Poquoson Christmas Parade. It was determined that he had suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism.


National Police Week is an annual event in Washington, DC, a week of color guards and sad salutes, of help for surviving families and the promise to, as an engraving on part of the wall implores, "Respect. Honor. Remember."

On Tuesday, thousands will gather at the memorial for a candle-light vigil, where names will be read in a final roll call for the fallen. Taps will sound and officers and their families will gather to touch the names on the walls, to lay wreaths and flowers, and to remember.


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