More than four-hundred people gathered Saturday (Nov. 9) for the dedication of the cornerstone to the U.S. Marshals Museum’s Hall of Honor in Fort Smith.
The museum is being built in honor of more than 250 federal marshals who have died in the line of duty.
“This Hall of Honor has the potential to become one of the sacred sites of our nation like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the National 9/11 Memorial,” museum president and CEO Jim Dunn said.
Dozens of US Marshals and their families were in attendance for the dedication.
Among them was Pamela Hotsinpiller, whose son, Derek, died in the line of duty in 2011. He was serving a search warrant on a suspected cocaine dealer in West Virginia when he was shot and killed. He was only 24.
“It’s unbelievable that we’re here,” Pamela Hotsinpiller said. “It’s unbelievable that [Derek's] name has to be on that wall, but I’m a very proud mother, a very proud mother.”
Derek Hotsinpiller’s brother, Dustin, also a U.S Marshal, said not a day go by that he doesn’t miss his brother.
“We were always there for each other,” Dustin Hotsinpiller said. “Now that he’s not here, I’ve got a lot of stories and a lot of explaining to do to my two little kids to help them understand who Derek was.”
“I miss him so much,” Pamela Hotsinpiller said. “Every day, every second. That’s one of the things, when we were at the hospital and they said there wasnt anything else they could do, I knew two things. He was with his father, and he died doing what he loved doing.”
“It’s truly an honor to be a part of something that they’ll be honoring so many people, not just my brother, but all of the marshals that lost in the line of duty trying to get this country in the direction its going now,” Dustin Hotsinpiller said.
The names of all of the fallen heroes will one day be etched into the museum’s hall of honor in remembrance of the sacrifice they made for their country.
Organizers estimate construction of the US Marshals Museum will cost $50 million. The museum’s groundbreaking is set for September of 2014, on the day of the 225th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marshals Service.