It is an honor to be here and be able to offer these brief remarks.
Often the meaning of phrases is lost on us, camouflaged by their familiarity. I think that is true, to a certain extent, with the phrase “law enforcement officer.” When we hear that phrase we think of police officers, state troopers and Federal agents. But if we pause and reflect – and that, of course, is what we are here to do today – it becomes clearer that what this National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial commemorates is not simply the officers whose names are inscribed on these walls, but the rule of law to which they were dedicated and in the pursuit of which they made the ultimate sacrifice. That rule of law is enduring and fundamental – indeed, even in this trying times of financial crisis, it is an unquestioned bedrock principle of our democracy, one that sets us apart from so many other nations.
That rule of law, of course, comes to us from the Constitution, through the efforts of our Founding Fathers. But, it was nurtured into the steadfast principle it is today, in part, by the sacrifices made by the men and women whose names are on these walls.
In many ways, then, we are not here today simply to commemorate the death, 100 years ago, of New York Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino. Rather, we are here to honor the rule of law that he and so many other Italian American treasured and nurtured. We are here to thank Lieutenant Petrosino for what his sacrifice gives each and everyone us today and every day. And, in that spirit, I am truly honored to be here.
(Pictured above Hon. Francis Allegra)
(Pictures by Erika Madrigal)