MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Law enforcement officers from all over South Florida gathered Thursday night at Tropical Park for the annual Miami-Dade Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony.
The solemn and moving ceremony is held to honor and remember the 136 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
The mother of Miami-Dade officer Giovanni Gonzalez who died in 2009 explained, “As a mother tonight I mean I’m honoring my son as I’m honoring the men and women in uniform.”
A riderless horse passed by the memorial wall, and relatives pinned flowers on memorial wreaths.
The wife and daughter of Miami-Dade Officer Jose Somohano who was killed during a traffic stop in 2007 spoke of their loss.
“How I wish I could transport back to that horrible day in September and ask him to stay home,” said Elisabeth Somohano, adding, “a piece of you is buried with him.”
“You will always be my hero – my dad my hero,” said 12 year old Alyssa Somohano.
The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was established in 1980 to honor fallen officers from every police department and law enforcement agency within Miami-Dade County.
This year the name Tony Kona III was added to the memorial wall. Kona was a Homestead police officer who was badly injured in a car crash in 1987 and died of his injuries last year.
The original triple granite structure was unveiled in May 1981, and remains an integral part of the site.
In 2001, four black granite walls were erected; etched with the names of the gallant men and women who died serving the citizens of their community.
Two five-foot high towers were added to the site in 2002, to commemorate the law enforcement officers who were killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.