A mother, and the country remember murdered prison guard

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Gone, but not forgotten, as the country honors North Carolina officers who died in the line-of-duty. Family of the fallen said they're touched that their loved ones now have a permanent place in America's history.

"She was a very smart young lady, she loved her job, and she was very good at it," Wendy Callahan said of her daughter, Lt. Meggan Callahan.

The North Carolina prison guard died last April, after a prisoner violently assaulted her during an escape attempt. Her mother made the trip to D.C. as the nation honored her daughter during the annual National Peace Officers' Memorial.

Wendy Callahan said she misses her daughter's humor, intelligence, and kindness. "We're very close friends along with being a mother and daughter," she said, "so it's been hard not to expect her to walk in the door, we still do."

Fellow North Carolina prison guards Justin Smith, Veronica Darden, and Wendy Shannon also lost their lives on the job last year - as did Maj. Jay Memmelaar of the Goldsboro Police Department.

All five of the North Carolina officers who died on the job now have a permanent place in American history. Their names are etched into the marble of the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial - alongside more than 21,000 that came before them.

"It's just, it was overwhelming to see that," Wendy Callahan said.

Callahan began speaking out after her daughter's death, calling for more staffing and better work conditions in prisons. She said that's how she honors her daughter, and believes it's what her daughter would have done.

North Carolina Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter called the four corrections officers heroes, and said their memory drives him and the system to do better every day.

Click on the videos above to watch our full broadcast piece and to hear more of our interview with Lassiter.

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