"Today the people of California pay tribute to 12 men whose names will be engraved on the California Peace Officers’ Memorial," said Master of Ceremonies Attorney General Kamala Harris of the State of California. "Their service and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten."
"To the honored families who are here today there are no words to match the depth of your loss," Harris said. "But I do want to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the people of Save California for supporting our fallen heroes."
Since California became a state, 1500 men and women who gave their lives will always have their names on this memorial.
Officers from all over California came to pay their respect.
In 2012 two officers were honored; Deputy Robert Lee Paris, Jr., Stanislaus Co. Sheriff’s Dept. End of Watch: April 12, 2012 and Officer Kenyon M. Youngstrom, California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa. End of Watch; September 5, 2012.
Eight officers from the distant past, going back to 1907, were also honored.
Governor Jerry Brown said he was at the first memorial ceremony 37 years ago."More than anyone else, officers who put their lives on the line everyday exemplify that core of our civilization, which is the willingness to stand for what holds us together, the rule of law," Brown explained. "Sometimes that rule of law has to be enforced sometimes under very tragic circumstances. And that is what we memorialize today."
"To keep our social fabric intact, we honor courage, we honor loyalty and that camaraderie that comes from being in uniform for defending life and property and doing it in a way our law enforcement officers do everyday," Brown said.
Jennifer Grant, surviving daughter of Deputy David Grant, Tuolumne Co. Sheriff’s Department, EOW 2004, sang "Can you hear me when I talk to you."
Guest Speaker Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court, shared with the crowd her husband is a police officer, who happened to be retiring today. She expressed the stress she felt being married to a peace officer.
Commissioner Joe Farrow, California Highway Patrol was the Keynote Speaker.He expressed thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation for the officers who serve and their families.
Farrow suggested people spend quiet time at the memorial. People come to pay their respect to those who gave their lives. He explains he has been at the memorial when school classes visit. He stood quietly by listening to the teachers explaining the significance of this memorial, listening as they describe the names engraved of those before us, our nation’s true heroes.
"Almost instinctively, there would be no words spoken," Farrow said. "Even the youngest visitors seemed to understand the magnitude of this place and what it stands for."
Six California State officers have died in the line of duty in 2013.
Here are scenes before the memorial began:
Police on motorcycles and in cars drove around the Capitol Mall