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2007 Candlelight Vigil

Remarks on Behalf of the Nation's Survivors

By Jean Hill, National President, Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), May 13, 2007

Thank you Craig....

My name is Jean Hill and I am a police survivor. I became a survivor on December 4, 2000, when my son, Harris County Deputy Sheriff Barry Hill, was killed in the line of duty. It would have been easy after Barry's death to have set back and allow myself to become a victim. I had always been there for him — through thick and thin — through the bad times as well as the good — but I wasn't there that morning when Barry needed me the most .... It should have been me — I should have been the one who died that morning but it wasn't me — it was my child. It would have been easy to become the victim but deep within me something kept saying — you are not a victim — you are a survivor.

As you sit here within the walls of this beautiful Memorial, you can look around you and see the names of almost 18,000 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Your loved one's name is engraved on this beautiful Memorial Wall. And we're here this weekend to honor your loved one.

But not only are we here to honor your officer - we're also here to honor you - the survivors. I know that you'd rather be anyplace else on the face of this earth than here in Washington, DC this week, because I would too. Because I know what brought me here and I know what brought you here and I don't like it. I'd much rather be at home waiting for my son to come to see me or waiting for him to just call to say hello. Your loved one had to make the ultimate sacrifice with his or her life for you to be here.

On May 14, 2006, I became National President of Concerns of Police Survivors - an organization that is just for survivors like you — survivors of those officers who have made that ultimate sacrifice.

This organization called COPS is the only organization in our nation that takes care of that child who will never know what it's like for Mom or Dad to teach them how to ride that bike or walk them down the aisle on their wedding day. It's the organization that takes care of the spouse who has lost their mate for a lifetime or that mom and dad who lost the child they gave birth to and they weren't ever supposed to bury their child. It's the organization where all survivors of an officer who has been killed in the line of duty can come together with other survivors who know the pain, the grief and the heartache and they're the ones who can lift you up and help you as you go about rebuilding your shattered life.

As you sit here tonight, your heart is heavy with grief and you don't know how you're going to get through the next few days, much less, the rest of your life without your loved one &mdash' look around you one more time at this Memorial and remember your officer with pride. The words are engraved here on this Memorial and the words ring so true to all of us — it wasn't how they died that made them heroes — it was how they lived their lives.

Thank you so much for letting us share with you in this memory of honoring your officer. You've made a great sacrifice to be here and your beloved officer made the ultimate sacrifice for the greatest nation on the face of the earth — the United States of America.

Thank you.