VALLEJO -- On Thursday, the bell tolled for the Golden Gate Division CHP officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
Thursday's memorial included the unveiling of a "Wall of Honor," containing the names, images and replica badges of 37 California Highway Patrol officers, including Kenyon Youngstrom, 37, of Cordelia, whose "End of Watch" was Sept. 5, 2012.
It was Youngstrom's death, during a traffic stop along Interstate 680 in Alamo, that prompted the effort to create the tribute inside the CHP's Vallejo headquarters.
With black bands on gold badges, dress uniforms and flags at half-staff, some 250 CHP officers, retired officers, families of the fallen and other dignitaries gathered for the tribute. Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. was selected as the date for a memorial event because it represents the CHP call sign, 10-10, signifying the end of duty, CHP officials said in a statement.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said he was so moved by the Wall of Honor that he threw out his notes and spoke extemporaneously about the members of the CHP "family" that paid the ultimate price since the Golden Gate Division was founded. The earliest line of duty death was that of Officer Elber D. Warren, whose End of Watch was Jan. 24, 1931.
A year in the making, the "Wall of Honor" was "created as an expression of our promise to never forget their service and sacrifice," the statement notes.
A memorial garden, with a fountain and bricks with officers' names and small American flags, also now graces the front of Solano CHP's Benicia Road front entrance.
"This is a beautiful place to reflect -- with the sound of traffic in the background -- about how an idea became a shared vision and a tremendous testament to the good nature of people," Farrow said. "These lost officers are kept alive by this effort."
Farrow told the surviving family members in the audience that "we know we can never repay your loss, but that doesn't mean we won't forever keep trying."
Mike Elder, speaking for the 11-99 Foundation that helped create the memorial, said it's meant to "pay lasting tribute to the officers and their families of the Golden Gate Division who have given their lives in service," calling them "a true band of brothers."
When one finds decency and respect among law enforcement, these qualities tend to be reflected in the people they serve, he said.
CHP spokeswoman Sgt. Diana McDermott said 11-99 is the code for "officer needs emergency assistance" -- "the agency's highest code."
Stephanie Miller, whose husband Officer John Miller's End of Watch was in November 2007, said, fighting tears, that "one of the biggest fears when you lose someone is that they will be forgotten. This memorial is proof that won't happen to these officers."
Karen Youngstrom said her husband knew the dangers of the job and "willingly put himself in harm's way."
"We're as proud of him today as the day he graduated from the academy," she said.