At 11 a.m. Tuesday on the lawn of the United States Capitol, tens of thousands of law enforcement and family members gathered to honor fallen officers. The emotional event ended a week of ceremonies dedicated to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox.
In Washington DC, Rockford was not alone in its grieving. They were held up by the many across the nation who are suffering their same grief. They, too, are coworkers, parents, children and husbands and wives of those who have died in service.
"They lived every day of their lives by that most sacred calling to serve and protect," President Donald Trump said in his address. "They were your partners, your friends. You know their families, and you know the lives that have been shattered."
Officer Cox’s wife was escorted in to the ceremony along with other survivors. When his name was called over the loudspeakers, she grew emotional as she placed a carnation in to a wreath in honor of her late husband.
"She’s tough as nails," Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea told 13 News earlier in the week. On Tuesday, he teared up talking about her struggles. "We’ll be by her side for the rest of her life."
Members of the Rockford Police Department called the week of events bittersweet, something they wish they didn’t have to ever go through all while they’re thankful the event exists.
"It’s a very emotional day. The same as it has been, it doesn’t go away. Every time I hear his name, it hurts," O’Shea, who has lead the department for just 2 years, said. "It’s something I don’t ever want to experience again — hearing one of my officer’s names read here."