In remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Obama said fallen police officers must be remembered not only for how they died but for how they lived.
"The 143 fallen officers we honor today put themselves on the front lines of that fight, to preserve that quality of community and to protect the roots of our greatness. They exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others. They embodied that idea. That's the way they died. That's how we must remember them. And that's how we must live," Obama said.
He was joined in the ceremony by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, among others.
"We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory," Obama said. "That begins, but does not end, by gathering here -- with heavy hearts, to carve their names in stone, so that all will know them and that their legacy will endure. We are grateful to them and we are grateful to you."