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Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

Secretary Napolitano at the Candlelight Vigil for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to meet with the families of two fallen Border Patrol agents who gave their lives in the service of our Department and our nation.

Senior Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar and Border Patrol Agent Jarod Dittman were killed in the line of duty last year as they performed their responsibilities as Border Patrol agents working to protect our Southwest border.

Agent Aguilar was struck and killed by the driver of a vehicle attempting to evade capture near Calexico, California and return into Mexico. The driver of that vehicle is now in federal custody in Mexico and faces second-degree murder charges and federal narcotics violations in the United States. Agent Dittman was killed in a vehicle accident in Jamul, California in the early morning hours while en route to his patrol area.

I assured the family members that we will never forget the sacrifices made by their loved ones. While no words can ever repay their loss, this week the names of both agents were inscribed into the CBP Valor Memorial in Washington, D.C. to stand as a permanent tribute to their service.

On Wednesday, Agent Aguilar and Agent Dittman's names also were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, along with 131 officers who died in the line of duty in 2008. As part of National Police Week 2009, I attended a candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening in their honor.

It is sometimes easy to forget the sacrifices our law enforcement officers and their families make on a daily basis as they protect our communities and the American people – and the very real dangers they encounter while on the job. This is a good time to honor the memories of those who have fallen, and give thanks to those who keep our nation safe.

Janet Napolitano
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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