WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was a somber Mother’s Day for the families of four chicago police officers killed in the line of duty last year, as they begin a week’s worth of commemorations in Washington, D.C. Sunday.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, and the families they leave behind. There are over 29,000 names on the memorial, including four newly-added entries from Chicago.
Crystal Jimenez’s husband Samuel died in November responding to the shooting at Mercy Hospital.
“When I see them it’s like man, we’re all going through the same thing. We lost the love of our life,” said Crystal Jimenez.
The families of Paul Bauer, Eduardo Marmolejo, Conrad Gary and Samuel Jimenez came together Sunday, holding each other for strength as they see those names forever etched in stone for the first time.
“The fact that he sacrificed himself to save others, it’s… everyone says ‘it’s the ultimate sacrifice.’ To me, it’s my biggest sacrifice because that was my best friend. That was my right hand,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez was also a father of three. All four of Chicago’s fallen officers were parents.
Chicago’s top cop Eddie Johnson laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier with the families of fallen Chicago police officers looking on.
At the police memorial on Sunday, 20 students from Chicago’s Oscar Mayer elementary sang. Around them, everywhere you look you see signs of pain and loss. And it’s not just those with names of the wall who feel it.
Tactical officer Bernardo Quijano served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is being honored with a national award after for his actions while responding to the November shooting at Mercy Hospital. There in the parking lot, he tried to save shooting victim Dr. Tamara O’Neil while he and fellows took fire.
“We might have been the last thing she saw and what helped me with some of the closure was the fact she saw us there helping her,” Quijano said.
This week, the families of fallen officers will have 200 Chicago cops, and as many 30,000 from around the nation, around them as a sign of support.
“Just seeing everyone here, I feel like it brings some comfort to know I’m not alone. It’s just, it’s, everyone is here for someone,” Jimenez said.