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Thousands honor Officer Cody Holte, other fallen officers, during candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C.

Officer Cody Holte was one of the 701 names read during the final roll call.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — It is one of the most powerful moments of National Police Week: Thousands of candles lighting up our nation's capitol to honor fallen officers during the candlelight vigil on the National Mall.

"Today we recognize the nobility of the law enforcement profession. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives in sacrifice of the safety of our communities," said U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

More than 4,000 members of law enforcement and their families filled the National Mall for Thursday night's ceremony. The message, echoed over and over, was that too many heroes have been lost.

As the pandemic changed where many of us work, that was not the case for police officers. It's estimated 62% of those who died in the line of duty last year were COVID related.

"What it didn't do is give law enforcement a choice. They had to go work on the the frontlines. They couldn't choose not to service those citizens needs because that citizen wasn't wearing a mask," said Lori Day, the chairwoman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland talked about how any call can be the last for officers. Deputies Kelly McClean and Ron Nord had done more than 200 eviction notices without a problem until they entered an apartment on May 27, 2020.

Deputy Nord was shot twice, and officer Cody Holte ran into the gunfight to save his brothers in brown.

"Yet despite those risks, you run toward danger to protect the public from harm," Garland said while addressing the thousands of officers. "Your extraordinary courage and dedication is an inspiration for all of us."

Secretary Mayorkas spent his speech honoring the families of those who wear a badge.

"When a law enforcement officer steps out of his or her home to serve the community, the family steps out with them. You, the families, are heroes too," he said.

As darkness fell upon the National Mall, the final roll call was read: 701 names honoring those who were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

More than 400 of those names were officers who died in the line of duty over the past two years. There was no vigil in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Officer Cody Holte's was the 408th name called.

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Another officer from our region was also recognized.

Red Lake Conservation Officer Shannon "Opie" Barron died in 2019. The 48-year-old's shift was about to end, and he could have gone home, but the 19-year police veteran decided to go check an illegal harvest.

Officer Barron suffered a medical condition on his way to that call. Officer Barron leaves behind a wife and two children.

A wreath-laying ceremony for the families of the fallen officers will be held Saturday at the U.S. Capitol with President Joe Biden as the keynote speaker.

Related Topics: CODY HOLTE
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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