WASHINGTON - Hundreds of candles lit the night sky in Washington, D.C. on Sunday in honor of 362 police officers who have died in the line of duty.
Pagerly, a Berks County sheriff's deputy, and Lasso, a police officer in Freemansburg, Northampton Co., were both gunned down in the line of duty last year.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address and led the lighting of candles and the reading of the fallen officers' names.
"As we read these names, we are reminded that our safety too often comes at a devastating price," Holder said. "Especially as we observe National Police Week, we are called to reflect upon—and recommit ourselves to confronting—the challenges and threats that our officers face every time they put on the uniform."
Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht and Pagerly's family members were among those who attended the vigil, which will be followed on Tuesday by the 31st annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Day services at the U.S. Capitol and a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
"Our law enforcement officers put the safety of our communities and the freedoms we enjoy first, often making personal sacrifices," said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the non-profit group that maintains the memorial and is one of the principal organizers of National Police Week each May. "In 2011, the price paid by our heroic and dedicated law enforcement officers was especially high, and the loss felt by their loved ones and colleagues was heavy."
Over the past week, police officers from across the country biked to Washington to raise money and awareness for the memorial.
Two groups of officers started their journey in Berks County. One left from the Berks County Courthouse in downtown Reading last Monday; the other departed from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wyomissing.
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