WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – One by one, the names of 307 members of law enforcement were read aloud Wednesday night.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial moved its annual candlelight vigil for officers who lost their lives in the line of duty to the internet this year for a virtual vigil.
“Due to COVID-19, this year’s memorials event could not be held on the National Mall,” Marcia Ferranto, CEO at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum, said.
Ako Cromwell lives in nearby Virginia and is a former Athens, Georgia police officer. He came to D.C. to light a real candle of his own on behalf of families from Georgia and Alabama that couldn’t be there themselves.
“I’m sure for them it will be very emotional also not having the opportunity to be here in person,” Cromwell said.
Cromwell called the families as he arrived so they could feel like they were there.
This year’s names were added to the memorial wall in time for the vigil but no crowds were there to see them. Families who had hoped to attend the vigil in person said it’s strange and sad not to be in D.C.
“I didn’t think it would hit me this hard…not being there,” Stacy Allan said.
Allan had her flights and hotel booked to be part of this years vigil. She lost her husband, Lt. Aaron Allan with the Southport Indiana Police Department, in July 2017.
Allan said she feels for the families going through this without that in-person support this year.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s sad but being able to honor them I think has created a different platform if you will to kind of give them that virtual hug.”