A stillness hung in the air. The sun was shining brightly, barely a single cloud in the sky.
The names rang out over the loudspeaker. One after another, after another.
It was Wednesday, May 15th ,and we were seated on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Survivors slowly came forward to place a flower in the wreath as hundreds looked on, paying their final respects to the fallen heroes.
After the names of every officer being added to the wall was read aloud, the crowd was given a blessing. It came in the form of a song.
And it will leave you speechless.
Pay close attention to the personalized lyrics in this amazing tribute.
The full version from National Police Week can be seen here.
Anne Nardolilli is a Deputy with the Arlington County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office. And when she came up to the stage with a group of singers in musicians all wearing their full dress uniforms, her voice gave the families of the fallen an incredible gift.
She reached out to Law Enforcement Today after National Police Week was over.
“After attending last year’s Police Week, I was inspired to write a song that emphasized how each officer who dies in the line of duty is “More Than A Name”, or more than just another name we etch on a wall, more than just another folded flag, more than a symbol of loss.
I wanted to write a song that remembered our officers beyond just how they died or the profession to which they belonged – I wanted to use quotes and memories that could bring them to life as individuals, as fathers, mothers, friends, spouses, etc. Every single one of the names I mention in “More Than A Name” are not only the names of real officers who died in the line of duty in 2018, but the descriptions of their character and who they were as people come directly from their respective memorial services, articles written about them, obituaries, or other similar resources.
For example, “Heath was the glue that held our shift together” is a direct quote from a coworker of Deputy Heath McDonald Gumm of the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, who was killed during a foot pursuit. Many of the lyrics come from a first person perspective – for example, “Michael was my brave, amazing Dad” or “William was my crazy older brother”- because I wanted to stress that every lost officer effects all of us in the law enforcement community, as if they were *my* father or *my* brother.
The only two names I use who are not listed on the Officer Down Memorial Page for 2018 are “Phyllis and Edwin” referring to Corporal Phyllis Henderson and Corporal Edwin Hill, two beloved deputies who had served the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office for over 20 years each when they both passed away suddenly from health complications in 2018.
Although they did not die in the line of duty necessarily, I thought it was fitting they were memorialized in this song as well to represent those officers who pass from other unexpected circumstances and leave their families, friends, and agencies behind to grieve. All in all, the main message of “More Than A Name” is this: fallen officers are more than just names on a wall – they were and still are important, multi-faceted, brave people who lost their lives doing something unbelievable and whose impact lives on without them. I wanted this song to be that reminder.”
The memorial concluded shortly after with a tear-jerking version of Echo Taps.
These are the moments that change us.
In the foreground are those who lost brothers and sisters. Their pain is evident but their strength is overwhelming.
Deeper into the shot are Survivors, including a child. Their loss is unfathomable. Their sacrifice is unacceptable.
In the background are the colors that unite us. The flag the fallen officers died for. The country that gives us all the blessings and opportunities we have.
The sound… is a tribute. A goodbye. A reminder. Our pain. Our strength. Our message that as long as a single officer is killed in the line of duty… our mission continues.