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  4. Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks at DHS Police Week Memorial Ceremony

Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks at DHS Police Week Memorial Ceremony

Release Date: May 10, 2024

Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks at the Department of Homeland Security’s Police Week Memorial Ceremony in Washington, DC.

Please be seated.

I want to thank everyone from the Department of Homeland Security for being here and joining us in commemorating those in law enforcement who have lost their lives, and I want to thank the law enforcement leaders from outside the Department who have taken their time to join us all today.

The individuals in public service, by definition, work for the benefit of others. Individuals in law enforcement are public servants who actually put their lives on the line for the benefit of others – to keep others safe and secure. It is a noble profession, and the individuals who are a part of it are truly heroic.

When we look at the Wall of Remembrance, and we consider the lives of those who sacrificed themselves so profoundly, at the expense not only of themselves but of their loved ones – when we think of them, we have to keep in mind that there is nothing routine in the life or day of a law enforcement officer. There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop – it only is routine in retrospect, once the law enforcement officer leaves the engagement safely.

John Suchodolsky, an FPS Officer, started his day perhaps in what we would think a routine way, but he was protecting the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and did not know that morning that he would lose his life in doing so. HSI Special Agent Robert Castioni, on 9/11, began his day in what he thought would be a routine way, but did not know that he would be a first responder in the tragic day of September 11.

And we have to keep that in mind as these extraordinary public servants – law enforcement officers and agents, that are not only a part of the Department of Homeland Security whom we remember today, but all across this nation – each time they leave their homes, each time their holster their firearms, they pin their badge to their uniforms, they wish their families a good day, they are embarking upon a day that is not routine but carries tremendous risk with it, and risk that they are willing to bear and endure for the benefit of others. It is truly extraordinary.

When we commemorate these individuals on this Wall of Remembrance, we not only commemorate them, but we commemorate all in law enforcement and we think of the nobility and heroism of the profession.

There is something else, I think, that is a byproduct of days and moments of commemoration like this.

I had the honor earlier this year to be a part of a vehicle procession – a tragic vehicle procession – from a church to the gravesite of a Border Patrol agent who lost his life in the line of duty. And what I observed throughout that drive on the highway were men and women off the highway, some in uniform, some in law enforcement uniforms, who were all saluting the car in which the fallen agent’s family was traveling.

I saw firefighters and city officials in the State of Texas saluting, standing outside their vehicles, the bus stops, wherever they were, and saluting. And I saw citizens saluting.

And in commemorating law enforcement agents and officers who have lost their lives, we also come together as a country. And so this commemoration recognizes heroes – it recognizes a heroic and noble profession – and it gives us a moment of pause to salute a nation to which we are all dedicated and unites us as one.

I want to thank you again for being a part of this very special moment. Thank you.


Last Updated: 05/10/2024
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