Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

Families remember fallen Chicago police officers

Dressed in a police uniform, Adam Sanchez, 9, wept Sunday as he held a photograph of his uncle – a Chicago Police Department officer who died in the line of duty nearly three years ago.

The boy came to Gold Star Families Memorial and Park to honor the memory of 27-year-old Alejandro Valadez, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in the Englewood neighborhood in June 2009. He was joined by hundreds of others for the 80th annual St. Jude Police League Memorial March and Service honoring fallen officers.

Valadez's sister Brenda said while her family still struggles with the loss, events like Sunday's ceremony are comforting.

"When you look out and see the sea of blue, you know they've made an extra sacrifice to be here," said Brenda Valadez, Adam's mother who also serves on the force. "We're just so appreciative."

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who spoke during the service, said it's important for families to know their loved one will never be forgotten. He said he was moved to meet family members who still attend the service decades after losing their loved ones, referring to a man he met Sunday who lost his father in the line of duty in 1960. "That's very significant," he said.

Also during the ceremony, the names of 26 officers who died in the past year were read, including 46-year-old Paul Nauden, who suffered a heart attack and died May 20, 2011 during an undercover narcotics investigation. His wife, sister, children and other family members held yellow roses in his honor Sunday.

The event served as a reminder that Nauden's comrades still supported his family, his wife April Nauden said. "It lets you know they're still here."

kthayer@tribune.com

Twitter: @knthayer

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Comments
Loading