In Augusta, Maine, an annual tribute to fallen police officers has added emotion this year. The memorial service comes just three weeks after the death of Corporal Eugene Cole, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Norridgewock.
"His life was taken trying to protect the rest of us," said Maine Gov. Paul LePage. "The manhunt [for the accused killer] and the funeral we just attended engraved on our hearts how important it is to honor all of you."
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state attended the ceremony at the Maine Police Officer Memorial. A granite wall has 86 names of officers killed in the line of duty, going back to the 1800s.
This year, a new name was added to the wall: Officer Nathan DesJardins. The 20-year-old was killed last summer working one of his first shifts for the Fryeburg Police Department, attempting a water rescue on the Saco River.
"Nathan got into law enforcement because he wanted to make a difference," said his father, Brian Desjardins.
Nathan was an EMT and nursing student. This week would have been his college graduation.
"I think Nathan, in his short life, did a lot of service for others," said his mother, Nicole. "He lived for that."
The Desjardins said it was emotional attending this ceremony and a national memorial in Washington D.C. They said they felt the love and support from their extended law enforcement family during a difficult year, and their hearts go out to the family of Corporal Cole.
Cole's wife and son, David, were also in attendance at the ceremony. Cole's name will be added to the granite wall next year.