Fallen CPD officers remembered at candlelight vigil on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON (WLS) -- Honors and tributes to four fallen Chicago police officers resumed Monday night in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of officers, along with the families of the fallen, traveled to the National Mall to make sure their brothers in blue are never forgotten.

The rain subsided just in time for sunset and a candlelight vigil honoring the fallen officers.

The people there are survivors, but that doesn't mean they have it easy. The ceremony and formality of the event is a vivid reminder of the worst moment of their lives.

"Sometimes it's certain things they say. Sometimes it's the way they sing. Most of it is, he's not here," said Maria Marmolejo, widow of CPD Officer Eduardo Marmolejo who was struck by a Metra train while responding to a report of shots fired in 2018.

Three hundred seventy-one law enforcement officers died in uniform in 2018; four of them were from Chicago.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson read their names: "From the state of Illinois, Paul R. Bauer, Samuel Jimenez, Eduardo Marmolejo, Conrad Charles Gary."

Wives, children, and parents all clutched candles burning in memory of their loved one. By no choice of their own, they're all Gold Star families.

"It's going to be a blur for them for the first year, and all we can do is support that," said Lieutenant Tom Cronin, officer with the 18th District and colleague of the late Cmdr. Bauer.

They're in the company of other families with the same stories, and they're forever under the protection of the surviving officers.

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Honors and tributes to four fallen Chicago police officers resume Monday night in Washington, D.C.

Earlier in the day, the Bauer family, Jimenez family, Marmolejo family and Gary family each meticulously traced the name of their Chicago police officer killed in uniform last year.

"To me, it feels like going about my day and all the sudden I trip and then it just...hits. It hits right away," said Crystal Jimenez, wife of Officer Samuel Jimenez, who died in a shootout at Mercy Hospital in 2018.

That's been her life for the last six months. She said all her husband ever wanted was to be was a Chicago police officer. His career lasted less than two years.

"He kept trying. He kept trying and when he did... man. The pride on that man. Let me tell you," Jimenez said.

The gun in his holster may have spared Officer Bernardo Quijano's life at Mercy that afternoon. He and two other officers were nationally recognized for their police work Sunday night.

"It is a little hard to digest everything and accept the award, especially under the circumstances that one of our officers didn't make it," Quijano said.

This week, the bond between the families of the four fallen CPD officers will only deepen, surrounded by thousands of families struggling with their same loss.

"I'm here to honor everybody on this wall," said Lt. Cronin said.

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Honors and tributes to four fallen Chicago police officers are scheduled to resume Monday night in Washington, D.C

Seeing the name of his friend Bauer brought the veteran officer to tears. Bauer is the highest-ranking Chicago police officer killed on the job in recent memory.

"Paul was doing what a policeman would do every day," Cronin said.

Monday marked 20 years since another slain Chicago police officer's name was etched into Washington D.C. memorial alongside nearly 30,000 other names.

"They didn't have a chance to retire. They didn't have a chance for that cake and coffee. It's just sadness," said Deputy Chief George Devereux.
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