120 police officers were killed in the line of duty across the country in 2012, two of them from Western Massachusetts - officers Kevin Ambrose and Jose Torres.
The fallen were recognized at a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Monday night
Officer Ambrose's son, Kyle Ambrose, says even though it is hard to see his father's name immortalized on the walls he still has plans to follow in his father's footsteps.
"At an early age it's all I really knew between my uncle and my father," he said.
Kyle Ambrose grew up surrounded by law enforcement and when he was little it was a path he had already planned to follow. His father's reputation in the department as a charismatic officer that loved his job makes the decision easier.
"I have to live up to his legend," he said.
More than 75 Springfield and Massachusetts State Police officers stopped at the spot where his name is carved into the memorial wall to honor him.
"He was a great guy and you couldn't beat a patrolman like Kevin Ambrose, you just couldn't," said Springfield police officer Kevin Burnham.
When Kyle Ambrose and his family lost him last June as he responded to a domestic disturbance call, the Springfield police family Kyle had grown up with grew tighter around him.
"They've been so supportive for the past year and it doesn't surprise me," Kyle said.
Monday night the Ambrose's were among the families escorted into a candlelight vigil by law enforcement from across the country.
Thousands held up candles and supported loved ones. For Kyle, it was an emotional tribute to his father and the others who sacrificed it all.
"Speechless. That's pretty much all I can say, it was just truly unbelievable. The amount of people that were here that recognize law enforcement, that recognize fallen officers, that they're never going to forget."
It was a sight Kyle says he'll come back to see again every year. But his tribute will be to honor his father's life, by following in his footsteps.
"I want to make it a tradition to come back here every year, whether I'm an officer by next year or not."
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