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A Silent Salute: Judiciary Square

Exiting the Metro in DC usually feels like a lot of rattling, loud screeching, muffled voices, doors swishing, high heels clicking and swarms of people rushing every which way. 

But even at lunchtime on a weekday, the Judiciary Square Metro station was quiet. It falls on the metro map somewhere between Metro Center and Union Station. Why is it so quiet here? The answer is just overhead.

Here, it doesn’t even feel like the city. There were people walking around and some cars driving past, but the environment felt peaceful. That’s because the metro spits people out right in the middle of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The memorial is incorporated into a beautifully landscaped circular park. Along the edge of the circle, under the line of tall trees, is a long (304 feet, to be exact) blue-gray marble wall with over 20,000 names of federal, state and local police officers who have died in the line of duty.

At lunchtime, people sat on the wall, taking their lunch breaks or lay out on the grass under the shade of well-groomed trees.

“I work down the street from here and this is my favorite spot to come for my lunch break in the warmer months,” one visitor said. “I have read almost every name on the wall. I find it  calming.”

The most striking part about this memorial sits at the end of each section of the marble walls. A giant, fierce lion or lioness stands on one side, protecting their cubs. These fierce statues symbolize the way law enforcement personnel protect the people of their area with courage, valor and honor.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial website reads, “The Memorial’s beauty and tranquility make it a special place for reflection, contemplation or just a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.” It’s an accurate description.

This memorial isn’t listed on “Best of DC” lists online, but consider it a hidden gem. Try getting off the red line at Judiciary Square next time, and spend a reflective moment with the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

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