Fallen officers were honored by thousands of their own, in Washington, D.C., during the annual Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitol.
Law enforcers memorialized more than 100 officers, who died in the line of duty. "We owe you a great deal," said Vice President Joe Biden. "We owe you more than this nation can ever repay." Vice President Joe Biden paid tribute to the families of 101 fallen officers. Among them, Mandy Buenting. "I just felt a large sense of peace and recognition for my husband and what he deserved," Buenting said. "For all of the officers that have given their lives." officers that have given their lives."
Flanked by an honor guard, Buenting, and hundreds of other survivors, walked into the service and placed a flower on a memorial wreath. "It was tough," said Buenting. "It was tough to walk up there and place that flower. But, on the same hand, it's one of the greatest honors I've done yet for my husband."
Harder still was what came next. With tears in her eyes, Mandy accepted a medal for her husband's service and sacrifice. "He just gave me a hug, and said he was sorry for my loss," Buenting said. "And, that it's a brother and sister in blue. That they'll always protect, and always be there for us."
The situation is a familiar one for the Hofmeyer family of Orange City, Iowa. 25-years ago, Ron Hofmeyer was sitting at a similar memorial service for his son, Dave, who died serving on the Los Angeles Police Department. Thursday's service made him proud. "When you look back and you see what's gone on, there's about 20,000 officers here, and it's just awesome, Hofmeyer said. "It really is."
The service also brought back memories. "I miss him," said Mike Hofmeyer, Fallen Officer's Brother. Dave Hofmeyer's brothers, Mike and Jeff, still serve on the LAPD. And, they came to the memorial service to honor their brother's memory. "I miss him, but what a better way to honor him than being here this week, Hofmeyer said.
A bond between those who wear the badge. It's thousands strong, and impossible to break.